Mamata blames DVC for 'man-made' flood
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday accused the Centre and the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) of causing a "man made flood" that has already created a havoc in vast parts of Hooghly, Howrah, Bankura West Midnapore and Birbhum rendering thousands homeless.
"For the past seven days our Chief Secretary and the Irrigation Secretary have been writing letters to the Centre urging them to release water prudently from barrages but they have turned a deaf ear to our pleas," Banerjee told the reporters at Amta in Howrah during her visit to flood-hit areas on Thursday.
Banerjee instructed the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary who were accompanying her, to take adequate measures to tackle the situation. The district administration has already brought villagers to relief camps opened in affected districts. During her visit to the affected parts of Howrah and Hooghly, the CM asked the district administration and police if adequate relief materials were reaching the affected areas.
Some of the local villagers also shared their woes with the Chief Minister when she reached the Shaotalberia area of Amta in Howrah at little after 3 pm on Thursday. Banerjee asked the Howrah district administration to take adequate steps.
"Had the Centre or DVC carried out de-siltation and dredging works in various rivers and the barrages, the holding capacity of barrages would have been increased. This could have checked the prevailing situation," Banerjee said.
After Amta she visited Khanakul in Hooghly where she held a meeting with the district administration and police to take a stock of the situation.
Khanakul, Arambag in Hooghly, Keshiari in West Midnapore and Labhpur in Birbhum are among the worst affected areas. Many parts of Howrah and Hooghly have been cut off, the CM said.
Banerjee also said that she had urged the Prime Minister and the union Power Minister to take some steps in connection with the additional release of water from DVC barrages but no steps have been taken yet.
The situation continues to be grim with the DVC releasing 2,49,450 cusec water at 7 am. The number stood at 2,47,500 cusec at 2 pm and 2,46,200 cusec at 3 pm on Thursday. The DVC has claimed that they were regulating the flow.
Power minister Sobhandeb Chatterjee told senior officials of his department to put special task forces in all the districts on high alert.
State Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee and State Agriculture Marketing Minister Tapan Dasgupta visited the affected areas in Hooghly following instructions from the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, prices of vegetables and other essential commodities have shot up. See P3