While dark clouds hovered over the state and intermittent rains lashed different areas, the authorities’ immediate worry was heavy discharge of water from reservoirs, both in Bengal and Jharkhand.
The Durgapur barrage in Bengal was scheduled to release about 65,000 cusecs of water on Sunday, with authorities warning that the release may go up to 90,000 cusecs.
There were scores of other dams releasing water simultaneously like Tilpara, Hinglo, Kangshabati, Massanjore, Maithon and Galudi in Jharkhand. The rivers in these areas like Subarnerekha , Kangshabati, Damodar were swollen and the reservoirs full.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had often described floods during the Left regime as “man made” because it was caused largely due to release of water from dams, regretted that her government was watching vast areas getting submerged as water was being released from dams.
Speaking to mediapersons at Nabanna on Sunday, Mamata said: “In the last four years, there has been no flood like this. So far, we have witnessed man-made floods and we have restricted them quite successfully. But the situation at present is rendered beyond control.”
The CM, who reviewed the flood situation at Nabanna with senior officials — including the chief secretary, DGP, IG (Law and Order), IG (Police) and disaster management secretary — added that the water retention capacity of some dams had been reduced as their condition was not good.
Advising the people in vulnerable areas to take shelter in relief camps to avoid “untoward incidents”, Mamata said: “I know that it is difficult to stay out of home, but life is priority. So, you must stay in relief camps for two to three days… Yesterday, I had said that there was 61 per cent excess rainfall. Today, it’s 70 per cent.”
Due to water being released from the dams, over 210 blocks in several districts across the state were inundated.
Holding the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) responsible for releasing excess water resulting in floods in the state, Mamata said: “DVC is doing business… We love them but that does not mean they will submerge Bengal… Two years ago, we had written to the Centre that more than two lakh cusecs of water can be reserved in DVC reservoir only if dredging is done. I will again write to them.”
Mamata has also cancelled her visit to North Bengal from August 4 to 7. She is expected to stay in Kolkata to monitor rescue and relief operations.
In Purbasthali in Burdwan, the Army had to be called in as roads were submerged and thousands of villages were marooned. Speedboats were pressed in to service to ferry people to relief camps.
The NDRF teams were also sent to different areas in Ghatal, Moyna, Panskura, Udainarayanpur, Amta areas in Midnapore, Hooghly and Howrah districts.
Large parts of Singur were inundated as rivers in the area breached the banks and flooded human settlements.
The Alipore Weather Office said that the monsoon was active and simultaneously the deep depression was causing heavy to very heavy rainfalls in Gangetic West Bengal.