Mamata visits deluge-hit area, slams Centre over delay in okaying anti-flood plan

PTI, Aug 10, 2021, 6:24 PM IST

Ghatal (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday visited the flood-hit areas of Paschim Medinipur district and alleged that dilly-dallying in sanctioning the Ghatal Master Plan by the Centre has led to the inundation of the region every year. As per the Ghatal Master Plan announced in 2009, several projects would be undertaken to desilt the rivers in the area, repair canals and build a dam on the Shilabati river, among others. Banerjee, who waded the floodwaters in areas under the Ghatal Municipality, said that she would be sending a team of ministers, MPs and MLAs to New Delhi to pursue the Centre in approving the matter.

“The Centre is not paying heed to our requests for the Ghatal Master Plan. Repeated requests are falling on deaf ears,” she said. As Ghatal is a low-lying area, it cannot be saved without the master plan, said Banerjee who also distributed relief materials to some of the affected people. “I have conducted a survey of the area. I will prepare a report on this. …. I think the administration has to work more and plan extensively,” the chief minister said. Banerjee who also took an aerial survey of the area said that she found that houses, shops and market places are under water. The administrative meeting, which was scheduled to be held at an auditorium in the area, was cancelled because it was inundated in floodwater, officials said. Banerjee said, “A team comprising (Water Resources Investigation and development Minister) Manas Bhuniya, (Irrigation Minister) Soumen Mahapatra, (two other ministers) Seuli Saha and Srikant Mahato, (Ghatal”s actor-MP) Dev and (Medinipur MLA) June Malia will go to Delhi during the ongoing Monsoon session of Parliament and meet the irrigation minister to place their demand (for the Ghatal Master Plan).”

These “man-made floods” are occurring every year after water is released from dams, she said. At least 23 persons have lost their lives and several lakhs of people have been displaced in seven districts of south Bengal in the flood which Banerjee has described as “man-made”. She has held DVC responsible for the flood situation, claiming it has released “excessive water” from its dams. The DVC, however, rejected the allegation saying it discharges water after taking consent of the state government and blaming it for the deluge is not justified. Several south Bengal districts had witnessed heavy monsoon rainfall last week. The chief minister said that her government would be sending proposals to the Centre on how to save the Sunderbans and the sea-side town of Digha from similar inundations which are occurring annually. She said that the state government has spent Rs 700 crore for the Kapaleswar-Keleghai project and the people of Paschim Medinipur district have been benefited from it

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