Master plans to control floods in North Bengal
Kolkata: The state Irrigation department is preparing two master plans to give respite to the people of North Bengal from the devastating floods.
While replying to a question in the state Assembly on Thursday, state Irrigation minister Rajib Banerjee said: "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed us to prepare the master plan and we have taken steps to develop the same to check floods or flood-like situation in North Bengal. The work for that has already begun."
One master plan is for Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Darjeeling while the other is for Malda, North and South Dinajpur.
Banerjee mentioned that a consultant is being engaged to conduct a survey and prepare necessary assessment for the master plan for Malda, North and South Dinajpur. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared after the assessment report is ready. The process to engage a consultant for the survey to prepare the master plan for the four other North Bengal districts has also already begun.
Execution of the master plan will ensure strengthening of the existing embankments where it is found necessary, bringing proper drainage channels to existence and leading to other infrastructure enhancements for better irrigation. At the same time all the 32 Swiss gates in North Bengal will be upgraded.
Although it is not yet finalised, the state government has decided to provide the necessary funds to implement the master plans. The option to approach the World Bank to ensure proper implementation of the project is also being taken into consideration.
It may be mentioned that floods in both North and South Bengal led to massive destruction and claimed several lives this year. Crops were also damaged.
In a bid to save the people of North Bengal from such a rerun, the state government is taking all necessary steps to prepare the master plans as early as possible.
The state government prepared master plans for South Bengal districts and implementation of the same has brought respite to people of the districts including Birbhum, Murshidabad, East and West Midnapore. They have undertaken the project for desiltation of Lower Damodar that will help to check floods in the districts including Howrah and Hooghly. He also took a dig at the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) authorities holding it responsible for inundation in some parts of South Bengal districts.
Banerjee told the Assembly on Thursday that the embankments at 1,411 places in 19 districts were damaged due to the recent floods and it led to a loss of Rs 413.10 crore. The state government is funding the repairing work.