DESCRIBING the inundation of certain areas in the state, particularly Udaynarayanpur area of Hooghly district, as “man-made flood”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she is mulling legal action against the Damodar valley Corporation (DVC) for releasing water without consulting the state government.
“For flood situations owing to heavy rain, no one can be blamed, but if the reason is release of excess water from dams, I term it as man-made flood. Further, if the DVC and the Central Water Commission (CWC) release water without the state’s knowledge, we will take legal action against the DVC,” Mamata told reporters after an administrative meeting in North Dinajpore district.
Noting that the DVC had not released water when Purulia and Bankura districts were facing droughts, Mamata said, “We cannot accept the theory of drowning others to save oneself. If this continues then we will have to rethink about how much cooperation there should be from the state to the Centre.”
Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who was in Kolkata on Monday, had brushed aside all allegations of Mamata vis-a-vis the DVC releasing water without the state’s knowledge and claimed that it was done under the instructions of the CWC which has representatives of the state as well. He had also said that the decision to release water was taken looking at the dam’s reserve capacity and safety areas.
At Tuesday’s meeting with administrative officials of North and South Dinajpore and Malda districts, Mamata was accompanied by state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh and state Tourism Minister Goutam Deb. Senior police officers of the three districts were also present at the meeting, during which the CM took stock of the ongoing projects there.
Continuing to point fingers at the Centre, Mamata also claimed that attempts were being made to shift the headquarters of Tea Board from Kolkata to Assam. “There are attempts to shift the Tea Board headquartersfrom Kolkata to Assam. We will protest this,” she said.
The Trinamool chief said her government has created a separate directorate for the tea gardens of north Bengal. “We have also created a special fund of Rs 100 crore for tea garden workers,” she added.
She accused the Centre of “discriminating against the states in financial matters”.
Talking about management of national highways, Mamata said their expansion was under the Centre’s purview. “We have handed over land to them (the Centre),” she said. The CM said her government has taken stock of various projects such as the Bagdogra airport expansion, maintenance of roads and highways, among others.