KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has demanded desilting of major dams and barrages managed by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in Jharkhand and western West Bengal to mitigate the flood in southern Bengal that has claimed 9 lives till Wednesday.
Speaking to media here on Wednesday after returning from her trip to New Delhi, the CM said that water released from Jharkhand is causing havoc in south Bengal districts.
“More than 1 lakh cusecs of water have been released by dams and barrages in Jharkhand today (Wednesday), which has inundated more villages in affected districts Howrah, Hooghly, Paschim and Purba Medinipur and Paschim and Purba Burdwan.
Since 2012, I have been demanding the desilting of the barrages managed by DVC. Had these old barrages been desilted, they could have stored additional 2 lakh cusecs of water. I also demanded desilting of Farakka Barrage over Ganga, Kolkata and Haldia ports. West Bengal should not suffer because it is lowland. I think it is high time that Centre brings reforms in DVC,” she said.
Despite reduction in rainfall over south Bengal, water released from dams and barrages in Jharkhand continued to wreck havoc over large parts of the state on Wednesday.
While more than 100 villages in 8 districts of West Bengal have been inundated, death toll due to the rains rose to 9 in the state. A checkdam in Khanakul area of Hooghly district has collapsed on Wednesday leading to inundation of several more villages. The checkdam was repaired at a cost of ` 6.52 crore only last year.
While state administration has claimed to have set up 50 relief camps, many flood victims alleged that the relief camps were established only close to major towns and not deep inside affected villages.
Also, evacuation process has also been slow with most residents of most affected villages in Arambagh in Hooghly, Ghatal and Chandrakona in Paschim Medinipur having to take shelter over roof-tops without food or potable water.