Bengal reels under flood as state holds central body responsible

Bengal reels under flood as state holds central body responsible

Bengal reels under flood as state holds central body responsible

Amid charges from the Bengal administration that the flood in South Bengal is due to the release of excess water by the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), at least six southern districts have been inundated.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee threatened the DVC with legal action if the corporation did not stop releasing  water.

Incessant rainfall, coupled with the release of water through DVC dams and barrages since Sunday, aggravated the flood situation in South Bengal, rendering thousands homeless and causing damages worth a few hundred crores. State government officials said large areas in Howrah, Hooghly, Nadia, Burdwan, Purulia and Bankura were submerged since DVC released water beyond limits. Asansol and Durgapur in Burdwan district are the worst-affected, officials said.

The chief minister, who held an emergency meeting with secretaries of the departments concerned on Tuesday, told officials that if needed, the government would take the corporation to court for breach of trust. “The DVC had informed the government that it would release around 90,000 cusecs of water but released 1,50,000 cusecs instead. This excess water further inundated the
low-lying districts in South Bengal,” a senior officer, present in the meeting, said.

Officials said according to reports available with the chief minister, South Bengal was inundated as the DVC released nearly 80% of the water from Panchet and Maithon dams in Burdwan. During a meeting with DVC officials on Monday, the government had requested them to release water in phases. However, DVC officials argued that water would be released “only when absolutely necessary”, sources said.

Defending DVC, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who visited Kolkata for a day, said the corporation under his ministry does not take decisions on releasing water.

“There’s no controversy between the Centre and the states. The DVC doesn’t take the decision to release water but it depends on a joint decision by the corporation and representatives of the respective states,” he said, after a meeting with state Power Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay and departmental adviser Manish Gupta.
While parts of South Bengal remained under water, rainfall in North Bengal caused a number of landslides. A number of houses collapsed due to a massive landslide at Sukhiapokhri in Darjeeling, killing one person and injuring at least 21.

At Samripani, another landslide brought down two houses, killing a woman and injuring two. Emergency service workers were trying to rescue those trapped in the rubble, officials said.

 

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