WB CM Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) supposedly released water from its dams in an unorganised manner, thus developing a “man-made” flood situation in the state, a senior state government official said.
The prime minister telephoned Banerjee to take stock of the flood situation in West Bengal, and confirmed the chief minister of all central assistance to relieve it, the bureaucrat said.
“During the dialogue, PM Modi questioned whether it has been raining heavily in West Bengal. The CM told him that the condition has been man-made and the DVC is accountable for it. She also told the PM that the DVC had discharged water in a haphazard manner damaging the condition in the state,” the official told PTI. The DVC has discharged 5.43 lakh cusecs of water from July 31 till Tuesday evening, an official of the corporation said.
The chief minister, who was attaining flood-strike Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district, was learned to have told the prime minister that her management will send a report to the PMO on the flood situation and damages caused by the flood after completing the survey, the official said. Later, a tweet issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that Modi confirmed Banerjee of all possible support from the Centre to help relieve the situation.
“PM @narendramodi spoke to WB CM @MamataOfficial on the flood situation caused by water released from dams in parts of the state. The PM guaranteed all possible support from the Centre to help relieve the situation. PM Modi prays for the safety and wellbeing of those in afflicted areas,” the PMO tweeted. At least 15 individuals have departed, and three lakh were displaced after heavy rain in the last few days and subsequent release of water from DVC dams overwhelmed large parts of Purba and Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas districts.
Banerjee, who was planning to perform an aerial survey of the flood-strike areas in Howrah and Hooghly districts, was forced to suspend the schedule due to inclement weather conditions, the official said. She took the road to Amta in Howrah and may consider visiting Khanakul in Hooghly if there is a betterment in the weather condition, she said. Standing in knee-deep water, Banerjee spoke to the afflicted people in Amta and guaranteed them of all help by the state government. “You will receive all help from the state government. Our ministers are on the basis of looking after relief and rescue operations. I will personally visit all the impacted areas soon.
“I have told the PM today that the DVC is accountable for the floods in Bengal. The DVC is not conducting dredging of its dams which is causing floods. The DVC should stop such random release of water,” Banerjee said while addressing the afflicted people. The state BJP leadership termed Banerjee’s accusations “laughable”, and said that the state government was looking for a face-saver to hide its failure.
“The entire irrigation system in West Bengal has been neglected during the TMC rule. Now, they are making such laughable statements to hinder their own failures. The day is not far when the TMC government might demand that the DVC’s dams be demolished,” state BJP representative Shamik Bhattacharya said. The DVC had earlier said that the storage facilities at Panchet and Maithon dams have reached their capacities due to heavy inflow of water from upstream Jharkhand, and release under such circumstances was “inevitable”.
A DVC official said that water released is regulated by Damodar Valley Reservoir Regulation Committee, which has a representative from the state government.