Bengal govt, DVC spat over floods turns ugly

Discrepancy in data over water release fuels tiff

Bengal govt, DVC spat over floods turns ugly

The stand-off between the West Bengal (WB) government and the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) took an ugly turn as both parties alleged that the other one was lying.

Discrepancy in data over the amount of water released since Monday added to the squabble.

While the state government claimed that the DVC released water through its two dams at Maithon and Panchet, along the Bengal-Jharkhand border, without prior warning, DVC authorities refuted the charge and said that water was released only after consulting and informing WB.

Reacting sharply to allegations of “irresponsible release of water” by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the DVC claimed that the process cannot be carried out without prior information as the release is monitored by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

“The state government was informed on October 10, and since then, 12 hours before every release,” a DVC official said. The chief minister stuck to her point of the ongoing flood situation in four districts of south Bengal being “man-made”.

“The plight of the poor is in such conditions due to some irresponsible people. There was lack of monitoring by agencies which released water all of a sudden,” she said.

DVC authorities, however, refuted her allegations and said that the state irrigation secretary was aware of the situation since October 10, as DVC released around one lakh cusecs of water till Friday.

Irrigation Minister Rajeev Banerjee told reporters that while the state has hardly any say in the affairs of the CWC, DVC’s intimation came at least two hours after water was first released on Tuesday.

The matter took political colour as Leader of the Opposition Surjyakanta Mishra of the Communist Party of India-Marxist and state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya spoke in favour of the DVC and blamed the state government for failing to contain the situation.

Meanwhile, Army jawans continued to work round-the-clock on the 75-metre breach in an embankment across Kansabati river, which has affected around 100 villages.

“The flow of water is swift and sealing the breach is posing a challenge. Our men are working round-the-clock to restore the embankment,” said Defence Ministry spokesperson Group Captain T K Singha in Kolkata.

Sources said the flood situation in Howrah, Hooghly, East Midnapore and West Midnapore were under control on Friday, with no new incidence of flooding or deaths being reported.

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