Solution to flash floods: CM instructs to form joint panel with Bhutan

Solution to flash floods: CM instructs to form joint panel with Bhutan

Jalpaiguri: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has given instructions for the formation of a joint committee with Bhutan to monitor floods and flash floods triggered by the spate condition of rivers originating in Bhutan.

She has instructed state officials to engage in discussions with Bhutan to find a solution.

Mamata Banerjee arrived at Tiyaban in Malbazar, Jalpaiguri from Cooch Behar on Monday afternoon and held a review meeting at Chalsa Youth Hostel to discuss strategies for dealing with the disaster in North Bengal. Officials from the Irrigation Department and Forest Department of all districts in North Bengal were reported to be present at the meeting.

After the meeting, the Chief Minister, addressing media persons, stated: “During the monsoon, the rivers of Bhutan are in spate leading to flooding in various areas of Bengal. Common people suffer due to flash floods also. In light of this, the Principal Secretary of the Department of Disaster Management has been instructed to establish a joint committee with Bhutan.”

She further expressed her concerns, saying: “In this meeting, I learned that the Brahmaputra River Commission is in the process of introducing a new bill that will strip us of our authority. While we have no objection to the Brahmaputra River Commission being transferred to the Northeast Range, there is no mention of funds. Since this bill would take away our authority over the Brahmaputra River Commission, we are opposing it.”

Additionally, the Chief Minister emphasised the need to relocate people living near rivers in Murshidabad and Malda areas to ensure their safety from drowning, apart from the ongoing projects such as the Ganga Action Plan, Ghatal Master Plan, and Farakka Barrage dredging. She also highlighted the importance of engaging in discussions with Bangladesh regarding their construction of a dam on the Atreyi River.

During the meeting, the issue of flash floods in Malbazar was raised, with the Chief Minister expressing concern about the illegal sand quarrying from the riverbed in Jalpaiguri district despite the government ban. She immediately ordered the halting of such activities. Additionally, officials were informed about the red alert issued for several other rivers, including Chel, Ghis, and Mal.

However, the Chief Minister was particularly concerned about the recurring flood situation in Bengal caused by water from Bhutan during every monsoon.

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