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Mamata blames DVC for ‘man-made’ floods in Bengal, plans aerial survey on Saturday

mamta banerjee

Ashok Chatterjee

Kolkata (The Hawk): West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is going to make an aerial survey at flood-affected districts on Saturday. Chief secretary HK Dwivedi is likely to accompany the chief minister.

Many areas of Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore, Asansol, East Burdwan and parts of Howrah and Hooghly are severely affected due to floods. Several people have died in Ghatal, in West Midnapore due to wall collapse and electrocution.

State chief secretary HK Dwivedi said on Friday, “The fresh rains added to the water woes as water from the precious rains in August had not receded, leading to collapse of several buildings and check-dams.”

Indian Army sources said that seven columns have been deployed for flood relief and assisting the NDRF teams. Of the seven columns, 2 are in West Burdwan, 3 Hooghly and 2 in Howrah. Army sources said the personnel have rescued 91 rescued people since Thursday.

Mamata alleged that it is man-made flood as DVC didn’t take state government’s permission before releasing water.

“The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has released several cusecs of water from Maithon and Panchet barrages without consulting the state government. West Bengal has to bear the brunt if it rains in Jharkhand and Bihar. It is a man-made disaster. I have also pressed the ministers in action,” said the West Bengal chief minister.

Urging the people of the state to donate in Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, Mamata said that donation will help the government to serve the flood-affected people better.

“Several places like Bankura, Purulia, Midnapore, Asansol and other parts of East Burdwan, parts of Howrah and Hooghly are submerged and several people have been rescued and works are on to rescue all the affected people. Relief camps have also been set up,” mentioned Mamata.

Sources said that, on Thursday, due to rise in water level Durgapur barrage in Bengal had released 2.30 lakh cusecs of water.

Also, it has been claimed that the DVC has released 1.15 lakh cusecs of water from Maithon and 35 cusecs from Panchet dams.

Slamming the chief minister, West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said that the people of DVC had a day before claimed that the chief minister will blame DVC for the floods.

The leader of opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari said that the irrigation facility of the state is not good and even when there is less rain the low-lying areas get flooded. He also asked the government to come out with a white paper on the irrigation department’s inactions.

Adhikari, who is a former irrigation minister, said, “The DVC has a committee concerned with the release of water. The West Bengal irrigation department secretary is a member along with the chief engineer in-charge of western region.”

West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury too concurred with Adhikari and said that the DVC cannot release water without maintaining protocol, which includes informing the state government.

Earlier, in August too when there were floods in many parts of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee had blamed the Damodar Valley Corporation for the disaster.

At least 15 people had died, and more than 3 lakh were displaced after heavy rains in July-August.

Mamata even wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining that desilting and dredging activities were not taken up and water-holding capacity of the DVC’s dams was not increased.

In response, the DVC, in its defense, had said that it discharges water after taking consent of the state government and blaming it for the deluge is not justified. The central government body said it does not decide about water regulation and decisions on this are taken by the Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee (DVRRC) where the state’s irrigation secretary is a member.