State setting up e-library to preserve history of irrigation infrastructure

State setting up e-library to preserve history of irrigation infrastructure

Kolkata: In a unique move to maintain the "history" of the development of irrigation infrastructure across Bengal, the Mamata Banerjee government is setting up an e-library that will consist of the of the digitised "design notes", drawings and other significant documents of each and every irrigation related structures that was set up since independence.

The move comes crucial when the documents related to irrigation facilities and infrastructures are globally considered to be of immense significance in terms of study on environment history. The work to digitise the documents is taken up also considering that it would act as an important reference when renovation and upgradation of the structures need to be taken up in future.

The digitisation of the documents related to the oldest irrigation projects in the state is also being done. The Kangsabati project was taken up as a part of the Indian second five-year plan in 1956 to provide water to around 3,500 square kilometre area in Bankura, Hooghly and the then undivided Midnapore. Mukutmanipur Dam on river Kangsabati at Khatra in Bankura is one of the oldest irrigation structures in the state.

The documents including the then Detailed Project Report (DPR) along with the drawings of the structures by the then engineers are also being digitised.

Besides developing the irrigation facility in the state, the state Irrigation department also played a major role in setting up Salt Lake.

The then Chief Minister Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy had noticed that the pressure was increasing on Kolkata, which was then from the bank of river Hooghly in the west and Beliaghata in the east and Tala to Tollygunge in length.

With the initiative taken by Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy, the land — mainly bherries — of the then minister Hem Naskar's family was acquired to set up a city.

The state Irrigation department had then played the role of acquiring the land as major part of it was 'bherries' and it was developed under the direct supervision of the department. Dr Roy had named it after US's Salt Lake city and Salt Lake Notified Area Authority was set up. Dr Roy's dream was to ensure the setting up of houses for the middle class people at Salt Lake.

The history of the works related to the Irrigation department would be preserved with the setting up of the e-library where digitised documents can be easily accessed in a single click.

Even people, who deal with the subject of Irrigation and its history, can also identify the changes in the language of government orders that keeps changing with time.

Most importantly the documents would get saved from rodents, for which the government needs to spend lakhs to protect the documents from getting damaged, said a senior state government officer.

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