Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday demanded the central government immediately “revamp” the Damodar Valley Corporation, holding it responsible for the flood-like situation in her rain-hit state.
The DVC however held that it has “no role” in releasing water as the decision is made by Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee (DVRRC) that has central government as well as the state government representatives.
“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.
“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,” Banerjee said.
Expressing alarm about the current situation in various parts in the state that are waterlogged since the last few days, she said at least two to three districts might go underwater due to the massive amount of water released from the dams.
She demanded the central government should start 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 told IANS that it has no alternative but to release water.
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 the DVRRC which has both central and state government representatives.
The official said as on 9.13 pm on Wednesday, cumulatively, total water released from Panchet dam was 2, 25,000 cusecs.
“Additional 1,05,000 cusecs water was released today (Wednesday),” a DVC official said.
Bengal Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said: “We have been requesting the Tenughat barrage authority to gradually bring down the level of water from June. Water released from Jharkhand is aggravating the situation here. We had submitted a detailed project report for the flood management in the lower Damodar catchment area to the Centre in 2015 but not a single penny was received by us.a
Birbhum, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Hooghly, Murshidabad, Bankura and Howrah are the worst affected districts.
The minister also informed the situation in districts like Bankura is improving whereas the condition in districts like Hooghly could worsen if DVC doesn’t pay heed to the state’s requests. He said around 200 families are trapped in Murshidabad’s Bharatpur and the process of distributing relief and food has been initiated.
State Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose toured some of the flood-hit areas to assess the damage to crops.