Updated: October 2, 2021 5:10:18 am
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday held the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) responsible for the current “man-made” floods in some districts of West Bengal, and claimed that it was caused by an unplanned and enhanced discharge of water from dams and barrages in Jharkhand without prior information.
Banerjee warned of a “massive protest” if dredging of dams and barrages was not done to prevent the recurrence of floods, and announced that she would conduct an aerial survey of flood-affected districts such as Paschim Bardhaman, Purulia and Bankura on Saturday.
The chief minister told reporters, “Last Wednesday night, huge water was discharged from Jharkhand at 3 am without intimating us, and that led to a massive flood in Paschim Bardhaman and neighbouring districts. It is very unfortunate and we got no time to tackle it. If floods occur due to excessive rain, it can be understood and we will be able to tackle it. But, it just took place because of the huge discharge from dams and barrages of Jharkhand and the DVC. This is a crime. They are discharging water in the dead of night without giving any information. How can the people of those districts save themselves? I have been protesting this for many years but they are not taking any initiative to minimise this situation. Repeated flood may cause to a massive protest which I do not want.”
Banerjee said she was sad that the flooding occurred just before the Durga Puja festivities, affecting lakhs of people. She also expressed fear that the situation might deteriorate on the day of Mahalaya before the Puja because of high tide.
Criticising the way the Centre operates the Prime Minister Cares Fund, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chairperson requested people to contribute to the CM Relief Fund. She promised them that the assistance from it would reach those affected.
“I will request people to contribute to the CM Relief Fund. It is not PM Cares Fund … The CM Relief Fund will be used for the right purpose and reach those affected,” she added. Banerjee also assured the affected people of compensation. “Do not worry, our government will take care of you. We will compensate for your losses…Even though we are almost without funds after providing compensation every time. We will continue to provide compensation,” said the chief minister.
Later in the evening, Chief Secretary Harikrishna Dwivedi told reporters, “From the Maithon barrage, 49,000 cusecs of water was released on the 30th at 12 noon. One lakh cusecs at a time in an hour or so, 1.25 lakh cusecs at 8.30 pm. The next morning, meaning today from 8.15 am, 1.5 lakh cusecs of water was continuously discharged. Half an hour ago, it was reduced to 1.25 lakh cusecs.”
Criticising the TMC government, the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, accused Banerjee of lying. “She is trying to hide the state government’s fault and blaming DVC. This is her old game.”
His party and colleague and state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said he had proof that the DVC had informed the state government about the water discharge but the state administration did not take any steps to rehabilitate people and send relief materials.
State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also lashed out at Banerjee saying, “Mamata Banerjee is not speaking the truth. It is absurd that the DVC did not intimate the West Bengal government. If she is speaking the truth, then she should go to court against the DVC and the Central government and the states concerned. But, she is not doing that.”
— With PTI inputs
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