October 3, 2021 5:29:19 am
The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) released a press statement on Saturday, denying the claim of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the state government was not informed about the release of water from Maithon and Panchet barrages, a decision that she said was behind the prevailing flood situation in the state. Sources in the DVC said a decision on discharging water is taken by the Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee (DVRRC), which has representatives of both the West Bengal and Jharkhand governments, and the same is conveyed six hours before the actual release of water through emails and a WhatsApp group involving all the stakeholders.
Even in its release, the DVC specified that any decision to this effect is taken by the DVRRC and the DVC merely implements it.
“The water released from DVC dams for moderation of flood is as per the advice of the ‘Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee (DVRRC)’, which is headed by Member (R&M), Central Water Commission, New Delhi. The DVRRC comprises members in the rank of Chief Engineer from the Govt. of West Bengal, Govt. of Jharkhand and DVC. DVC authorities only follow the water release advice and instructions of the DVRRC towards discharge of water through dams and has no role in the quantum of water released,” the release read.
It further stated, “The release advice are as per the capacity of the dams to hold water up to a certain level. Before the release of water, flood warning messages is communicated well in advance to Chief Engineers of Govt. of West Bengal, District Magistrates of Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Purulia, Bankura and Superintending Engineer and Executive Engineer, Durgapur, Govt. of West Bengal. The Executive Engineer, Durgapur, Govt. of West Bengal further communicates the messages to the District Magistrate of Hooghly, Howrah, SDOs, ADMs, BDOs and others as per the Flood Warning Memorandum. This is as per the established system followed during flood events.”
After conducting an aerial survey of the flood-affected regions of the state on Saturday, the chief minister accused the DVC of releasing water without any prior word of intimation to her government. Labelling it a ‘crime’, she demanded that the DVC award compensation to flood-hit people.
Responding to the CM’s remark, Debashish Dev, executive director (civil), DVC, said, “We always follow our protocol in intimating the states on releasing water from our barrages and dams and this time too, we did the same.
Another senior DVC official said, “We inform the West Bengal government at least six hours before the discharge of water. Six hours upon intimation, we started releasing barrage water which reached places such as Udaynarayanpur and Khanakul at least 10 to 12 hours post the discharge. Right now, DVC is discharging 95,000 cusecs of water. In the last two days, we released just 34% of our capacity. Our barrage level is 495 feet beyond which we are bound to discharge water as otherwise, the barrage will be damaged. The water level currently is 493 feet, just two feet less than the highest level. Should there bemore rainfall, we might have to release more water.”
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