A war of words has broken out between the BJP and Trinamool Congress over Jharkhand’s Massanjore dam, after there were attempts by the West Bengal government to colour the 1950s structure in blue and white — apparently the favourite shades of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The dam located in Jharkhand’s Dumka district is maintained by West Bengal’s irrigation department.
The BJP has accused the Trinamool Congress of resorting to “petty politics” by imposing its colour scheme on the dam, while Trinamool leaders claimed there was nothing political in opting for the two colours as the barrage was maintained by the West Bengal government.
On Saturday, West Bengal’s Birbhum district Trinamool president Anubrata Mondal said it seemed that “not only West Bengal BJP leaders, but also those from Jharkhand have begun fearing Mamata Banerjee…They (BJP) should know that blue-and-white is not TMC colour (scheme)”.
“As West Bengal government maintains this barrage, the officials have put blue-and-white coats here too. There is nothing abnormal. If there is anything which is abnormal, it is the political view of the BJP,” he said.
Painting of the barrage was stalled on Thursday after Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha office-bearers, led by BJP’s Dumka unit chief Nivas Mandal, raised objections.
Jharkhand state BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdev said hundreds of people in Jharkhand had been displaced because of the dam, but West Bengal was using its entire water.
“…Jharkhand gets nothing out of it. We have always demanded that the agreement be re-negotiated. As it is, a dam is a national property and does not belong to any one state or political party. So, to impose one’s own colour scheme for a structure that is not in their state amounts to petty politics,” he said.
The Massanjore dam on Mayurakshi River has a storage capacity of 500,000 acre-feet and farmers of Birbhum, Burdwan and Murshidabad districts of West Bengal are dependent on its water.
West Bengal Irrigation Minister Soumen Mahapatra, however, accused the BJP of trying to instigate trouble. “How can a group of people, led by the BJP, stop work at the dam? Such acts have never happened before. They have not only stopped painting work forcibly, but brought down the Biswa Bangla logo, which was designed by our chief minister and later the Central government accepted it. The BJP is trying to instigate trouble like it is doing in the rest of India, including Assam,” Mahapatra said.
The Trinamool Congress has lodged an FIR. “Birbhum district magistrate is trying to communicate with his counterpart in Dumka, but Jharkhand government seems to be silent on the issue. We will take all legal steps,” said Mahapatra.