Panic has spread among villagers after the banks of the River Ganga started breaking in the Brajalaltola area in the Manikchak block in Malda. People living in the area have now started to leave their houses and take shelter in safer places, it is learned.
Local residents complained that they have been informing the Farakka Barrage authorities under the central government about the matter but in vain. It may be noted here that a few years ago, the authorities concerned had started work to stop the erosion in the area, but the work was abandoned midway.
“Since then, the Brajalaltola area has been gradually breaking down. Recently, the state government has directed the irrigation department and the district administration to take all necessary measures to prevent erosion of the Ganga in Manikchak.
But even though the irrigation department works in emergency situations, it is now difficult to prevent the collapse,” a local source said. The erosion started this morning across a stretch of around 100 meters at West Narayanpur and Braj Laltola of Dakshin Chandipur Gram Panchayat under the Bhutni police station in Manikchak.
The Irrigation Department took initiatives to try and stop the erosion by throwing stones and boulders in the affected area. “However, the Ganga is in spate now. The residents of the concerned area have started evacuating their houses before the situation goes out of hand.
Since morning, the villagers have been busy in removing bricks from the house and loading their valuables in lorries,” the local source said.
“The Farakka Barrage authorities have taken the responsibility of preventing a breach in the Ganga in the Bhutni area a few years ago. But they stopped work in the middle. Since then, the impact of the erosion has continued. The Irrigation Department tried to solve the problem by doing some preventive work. But it was not possible to prevent the breakdown,” Basudev Mondal, Moinuddin Sheikh, and Saidul Sekh, residents of the Brajlaltola area, said.
“We do not know what our future will be like. We have requested the government to help us,” they added. Sabina Yasmin, Minister of State for Irrigation Department and Mothabari MLA said, “The Farakka Barrage authorities are fully responsible for the collapse of the Manikchak area. People are now suffering because of their indifference.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee later ordered that the erosion in the Ganga be prevented at all costs. Since then, the irrigation department has started working on a war footing.”
According to Trinamool Congress MLA of Manikchak Sabitri Mitra, erosion along the Ganga is a big problem in the area. “However, the irrigation department is taking initiatives to stop and prevent further erosion, which was actually the work of the Farakka Barrage.
We are doing the needful to solve the problem by discussing it with the administration,” she said. District Magistrate Nitin Singhania said, “The BDO has been instructed to visit the spot. Apart from that, the irrigation department will work there very quickly. We are also looking into the matter seriously.”