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CM blames Centre’s ‘indifference’ for North Bengal flood | Mio Kitchen

MP, 9 July 2024, Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused the Centre of “indifference” towards Bengal which has led to a flood-like situation in parts of North Bengal with several rivers flowing over danger levels and subsidence occurring at different places. 

“Water from Bhutan enters Bengal every year leading to inundation in districts such as Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri. 

Fourteen hydel power projects came up in Sikkim and water was drawn at will. The Central government should have intervened then. But there is no monitoring system on their part. We had brought the matter to their notice but nothing was done. Now, the people of North Bengal are bearing the brunt. 

The people of Jalpaiguri know how the Karola River earlier would flood its banks. We spent to the tune of Rs 20 crore and addressed the erosion of Korala. But we have received no assistance from the Centre,” Banerjee said. 

Claiming it is the responsibility of the Centre to address the Ganga erosion issue which it has been ignoring for over a decade, she said: “They have not done dredging of Farakka despite promising to do so. 

The erosion led to many houses being devoured by the river. A package of Rs 700 crore was prepared but not a single penny was given. Now they are claiming to renew the Farakka project. 

If it is really done then both Bengal and Bihar will be flooded,” she added. Describing the recent discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and her Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina regarding Teesta water sharing as “unilateral”, she asserted: “Water flow in the Teesta has gone down over the years. How will they give water (to Bangladesh) with the river drying? 

If any water is shared with Bangladesh, lakhs of people in North Bengal will get severely impacted due to inadequate availability of irrigation water.” 

Banerjee also referred to the water scarcity in South Dinajpur because of a reduced flow in the Atreyee, a river from Bangladesh. “With the help of China, Bangladesh has built a dam on the Atreyee and people in the district are facing a water crisis. I wrote to the central government several times but no initiative was taken,” she added. 

Referring to the subsidence in several roads in North Bengal due to heavy rainfall over the last few days, she said that the Army should keep an eye on such incidents and take necessary action as the responsibility lies with them. 

Banerjee did not rule out flood in North Bengal and instructed the Irrigation department to strengthen its monitoring system till October and maintain liaison with other departments and district administration so that assistance can be immediately provided to the people during emergency. 

She asked all the districts to provide helpline numbers where people can call round the clock during an emergency. 

Banerjee also urged the concerned departments in South Bengal to be alert and vigilant and take precautionary measures to tackle any situation resulting from heavy rainfall. “DVC often releases water in an indiscriminate manner resulting in flood-like situations in parts of Howrah, Hooghly and Midnapore. 

DVC has the capacity to hold 2 lakh cusecs of water but it is unable to do so due to lack of dredging. The administration should immediately take up this issue with the Irrigation ministry. I should be given a report about daily water release by DVC,” she added. 

She advised tourists against visiting the Hills in the wake of a flood-like situation prevailing in North Bengal and warned against subsidence in roads in Sikkim and Kalimpong. 

Meanwhile, in her press conference, the CM also directed the Transport department to earmark some vehicles for quick rehabilitation of people in flood-like situations. She also called for sorting out the issue of existing tram tracks between Mominpore and Hazra in Kolkata where accidents are happening frequently. 

Banerjee, who is also the supremo of the ruling Trinamool Congress, said that she would ask the Chief Secretary of the state BP Gopalika to hold a meeting with the Railway officials so that the rush caused due to the influx of her party supporters from North Bengal for the July 21 Martyrs’ Day rally could be handled in a better way.

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