State completes excavation work of major river channels
Kolkata: With the state government completing re-excavation of around 53.26 km of major river channels in the area, the wait for decades of around 10 lakh people residing in low lying areas in Hooghly district's Arambagh and Khanakul area have come to an end as flood-like situation in the area will be a matter of past.
A large section of the residents in the area can hardly recollect a monsoon when they had not left their homes to take shelter in a safe place as the entire area of around 63.60 square kilometre gets heavily inundated by water if incessant rainfall takes place for four to five days.
Several discussions and planning had taken place in the past since the Left Front regime. But nothing had finally materialised. Now with the initiative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the state Irrigation and Waterways department has completed the task giving relief to around 10 lakh people in Arambagh, Khanakul I and II blocks and the area under the jurisdiction of Arambagh Municipality. The project has been implemented at a cost of Rs 39.71 crore under Arambagh Master Plan (Phase I). It was a completely state-funded project.
The major river channels in the area including Kana Dwarakeswar, Kana Mundeshwari, Moloypur Canal, Kata Canal and Bhomrakhaland Arora Canal were brought under the project in which all its water level capacity has increased that will check flood-like situation in the area. Carrying out deep desiltation was the major task of the project along with strengthening of embankments and replacement of temporary structures with wooden bridges to help people easily cross the river channels without risking their lives.
The soil excavated from the river bed has been used in strengthening embankments wherever it was weak along the river channels. "There were some places where there was no problem with the embankments. At such places, the excavated soil was dumped at far off places so that it does not again flow to the river channels during rainfall," said a senior official of the state Irrigation and Waterways department adding that the project had started in November 2019. The major and important part of the
work to give people relief from flood like situation is complete. Only dumping boulders or construction of guard walls along the river channels to check soil erosion will be carried out after monsoon. The reason being the monsoon has already set in and such work cannot be carried out at this time.
"The set deadline for the project is March 2021. But the main work has been completed before the 2020 monsoon itself," the official said.
The state government has taken up the West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project that will give respite to residents of Amta and Udaynarayanpur from flood like situation. It has been taken up against a soft loan sanctioned by the World Bank.