Mamata blames Damodar Valley Corp, Jharkhand for WB floods

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh complaining against the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and the Jharkhand government for releasing significant volumes of water into the Damodar and its tributaries leaving large parts of south Bengal inundated.

The letter sent on Tuesday said five districts in south Bengal have been flooded since Tuesday after a number of rivers got over-flooded due to excess water being released through the Maithon and Panchet dams of the DVC, on the border of Bengal and Jharkhand, along with another dam on the Kansabati River controlled by Jharkhand government.

Mamata complained that the water was released without prior warning. The letter was drafted after Mamata held an emergency meeting with some of her Cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats.

Sources in the Chief Minister’s Office said she left to survey flood-affected areas in West Midnapore on Tuesday evening and took stock of the situation on Wednesday too.

The CM also called up the Union Water Resources Secretary and expressed her displeasure over the situation. While heavy rains had led to flooding in Jharkhand since Monday, Mamata complained that nearly two lakh people have been affected due to the “irresponsible release of water” across Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore and West Midnapore.

According to sources, Mamata has been vocal against such release of water, which she feels has become a regular feature of DVC action. Earlier, in 2011 and 2012 too, she had raised the issue with senior DVC officials after large volumes of water were released without any warning.

Senior officials said that while DVC was to release around 1 lakh cusecs of water on Tuesday, it released nearly 1.7 lakh cusecs that further inundated areas already under water in south Bengal.

Mamata, who held another meeting on Wednesday, instructed the departments of disaster management and irrigation to take appropriate steps to provide relief to people and ensure the water levels go down at the earliest.

State Irrigation Minister Rajiv Banerjee told reporters that while heavy rains had occurred over the last few days due to Cyclone Phailin, the water from Jharkhand had compounded the problem in the south Bengal districts.

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