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Mamata urges central government to revamp DVC dams

IANS | Kolkata |

Claiming that the lower catchment areas of her state are inundated every year by the water released from dams, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the central government to revamp the Damodar Valley Corporation by cleaning and dredging its barrages.

"We are repeatedly asking the central government to clean and dredge the old barrages of DVC since 2012. The capacity of these barrages have reduced due to sedimentation. Therefore, the dams that should be able to contain another two lakh cusecs of water, are not able to do so. I think the central government should take initiatives to revamp the DVC," Banerjee said. 

"If the lands get waterlogged due to rainfall the it can be attributed to natural calamity. But our some parts of our state gets further inundated due to the water released from some barrages every year," she added. 

Expressing alarm about the current situation in various parts in the state that are waterlogged since the last few days, Banerjee said at least two to three districts might go underwater due to the massive amount of water released from the dams. 

"Nearly one lakh cusecs water has been released today from different dams in the state, starting from Telipara bridge, Durgapur barrage to DVC. Two to three districts would go under water because of this. Parts of Howrah, Hoogly, West Midnapore and Birbhum will be further inundated," she said. 

She claimed that the central government should start the dredging at places like Farraka barrage and ports of Kolkata and Haldia to stop this flooding every year. 

"Farraka is not dredged. As a result Bihar faces problems when the water there overflows. No dredging is done in Kolkata port, Haldia port and Ganga river bed either. If this was done, the state would not have suffered every year like this," she added. 

The DVC has released two lakh cusec water in the last three days from its Panchet dam and has issued a flood warning report on Wednesday. 

Claiming that the water pressure to have increased in the dam due to the massive rainfall in Jharkhand, a DVC official said it has no alternative but to release water. 

"Water has been released from Galudi and Tenughat dams following heavy rainfall in Jharkhand. As a result of it, pressure on Panchet dam keep on increasing and once the maximum capacity of the dam exceeds, there was no alternative but to release water," a DVC spokesperson told IANS. 

Refuting the Bengal government's allegation that DVC is not adhering to its proposal of not releasing the water from the dams for the next few days, the official said the decisions are taken by Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee (DVRRC) that has central government as well as the state government representatives. 

"The commission comprises representatives from central government, West Bengal and Jharkhand government and also from DVC. The commission takes the decision of releasing of water depending on the situation. The DVC has no role in releasing water," he said.