The existing problem of flood in parts of Howrah, Hooghly and Burdwan district is soon going to be the matter of the past as the World Bank has given its clearance for the project that the state government would carry out for desiltation of Lower Damodar River and its channels.
Rajib Banerjee, the state Irrigation minister, said in the Assembly on Thursday, that a delegation of World Bank came last month and gave its clearance for the project. “I am hopeful that the work would start in the next fiscal if everything goes as planned,” he said in reply to a question raised by Congress MLA Asit Mitra.
Banerjee said that Damodar Valley Corporation had not undertaken the desiltation work for the channels for the past 60 years. As a result, vast areas of Howrah, Hooghly and Burdwan get flooded every year.
Since the project has not been taken up by the Centre, the state government had prepared a DPR and approached the World Bank. The total projected cost of the project is Rs 2,768 crore. World Bank will be providing 70 per cent of the project cost while the rest 30 per cent will be provided by the state government.
Stating that it is a dream project of the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Rajib Banerjee said that steps would be taken to complete the work as early as possible and it will help to get rid of the longstanding trouble of flood in the areas.
The Irrigation minister on Thursday once again raised the issue of step-motherly attitude of the Centre as its share of fund for different projects has been reduced. Though the state is yet to get the money, the Centre had earlier assured of providing 70 per cent of the project cost for Ghatal Master Plan and later it had reduced it to 50 per cent.