West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging for an immediate and permanent solution to the recurring flood situation in the state.
In a four-page letter written to the Prime Minister, the chief minister terming the flood as “man-made” alleged that the “unplanned discharge of water from DVC dams at Panchet and Maithon has led to unprecedented deluge in many districts of the state”.
Giving a detail of releasing more than 5 lakh cusecs in a span of three days, the chief minister alleged that DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) authorities did not pay heed to IMD warnings of heavy rainfall, and “kept the water discharge from the dams at a low level and when there was heavy rainfall, it discharged about 10 lakh acre-feet of water between September 30 and October 2, which caused serious devastation in lower Damodar region before the festive season”.
“DVC which was conceived as a multi-state public organisation, has failed completely to regulate inter-state flow and discharge of water into Damodar and take corrective measures to either increase the water holding capacity of its dams or maintain and upgrade its existing infrastructure by way of desiltation and dredging of the dams. We have been highlighting this requirement on the part of DVC for the last 10 years. Due to the failure of DVC, the people of Bengal have to face this recurrent wrath of floods every year,” she alleged.
“Moreover, the Government of West Bengal has to bear the brunt of the unplanned discharge of DVC and to pay for the inadequacy and structural deficiency of the DVC management. It has to compensate for the damages caused to a vast multitude of the people in the districts of south Bengal from out of its own meagre resources, while adequate funds are not made available by Government of India/NDRF,” the chief minister said.
Similarly, heavy discharge from Sikatia Barrage under the control of Government of Jharkhand, resulted in flooding of Ajoy river.
Referring to an earlier letter she had written on August 4 in this connection, Banerjee said, “I had highlighted the structural factors that give birth to grave man-made flood situations in southern Bengal, repeatedly, pitifully and tragically. Unless the Government of India addresses the basic underlying structural and managerial issues, both on a short term and on a long-term basis, the disasters will continue unmitigated in our lower riparian state.”
The TMC chief said she hasn’t received any reply to her previous letter.
“The issues that I raised affect millions of lives, and I request that the Government of India should get into some serious actions without further delay,” the letter read.
“This annual problem requires immediate short-term and long-term measures so that the sufferings of the people are mitigated and the national loss in terms of loss of life and property is avoided.
“I seek your kind immediate intervention so that the Ministry concerned of the Government of India is requested to engage with the Governments of West Bengal and Jharkhand and the authorities of the DVC, to help in arriving at a permanent solution to this problem of our state occurring year after year,” she said.