Facing flak from the Opposition parties for inept handling of the flood situation in five districts and for partisan and inadequate relief measures,Mamata Banerjee government Thursday suffered a major embarrassment after a DVC official claimed that the state government was warned in advance before water was released from Jharkhand dams.
An official spokesman of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) said that on October 10,authorities had given a 12-hour notice to the West Bengal government before releasing water from dams on Bengal-Jharkhand border as per directions from the Central Water Commission. He said the dams were near overflowing due to heavy downpour in the catchment areas.
The DVC statement has given much need ammunition to the Opposition parties to attack the state government,which had been blaming neighbouring Jharkhand and the DVC for releasing water without prior information.
State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya said that despite DVC warning,Mamata Banerjee government failed to gauge the seriousness of the situation.
Today I had a conversation with the DVC chairman,he told me DVC had informed the state government about the release of water. They had repeatedly intimated the state government about it, the PCC chief said.
He said the state government didnt take the necessary steps to tackle the situation and is now giving political colour to the relief operations.
The Block Development Officers have been asked to sit in their chambers while Trinamool workers have taken up the relief operations in the affected areas. The relief material is being distributed as per the beneficiaries party affiliation, the Congress leader said CPM Politburo member Surya Kanta Mishra member alleged that said he had warned the state government about possibility of release of water by the DVC.
I had called the Chief Secretary and Industries minister Partha Chatterjee about the outcome if water was released by DVC and told them to take precautionary measures last week,but they didnt pay any heed. They were busy with Durga Puja, Mishra told reporters.
The worsening flood situation - almost 80,000 people are in relief camps now- is a reflection of lack of coordination and preparedness, he said,adding that he was willing to work as a volunteer in the affected area should the TMC government decides to take my services for any work.
He warned that the situation in the affected areas as well as in the Sunderbans might deteriorate further with high tide expected on the full moon night on Friday. He said water level in many rivers would rise and urged the government to take preventing measures in Sunderban areas where embankments have not yet been repaired after cyclone Aila.