Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday hit out at the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for releasing water without informing the state government, leading to flood-like situation in the state.
The state government later informed that more than 22 lakh people have been affected because of the flood situation in seven districts of the state.
“They have released more than 1.5 lakh cusecs of water without even informing the state government. At the dead of the night, when all people are asleep, DVC has released the water. This is sin. This is a crime. I have told them many times to inform us before releasing water so that we can evacuate the people,” a visibly angry Chief Minister said.
Terming the flood as ‘man-made’, Banerjee said, “There are several dams in Maithon-Panchet that are lying dysfunctional because of lack of dredging. The state government has written to the Jharkhand government several times to do the dredging but they are reluctant to do so. We are suffering because of them. Whenever there is heavy rain in Jharkhand, our state is the worst-affected”.
Later in the day, the Chief Minister held a high-level meeting with the district administrations and took stock of the situation.
“More than 22 lakh people across seven districts have been affected because of the flood. The water of various rivers, including Ajay, is flowing over the danger line. More than one lakh houses have been damaged and agricultural land has been flooded,” a senior official at the state secretariat said.
“More than four lakh people have been evacuated. The state has started 1,500 relief centres where more than two lakh people have been given shelter,” he added.
The Chief Minister will go for an aerial survey to inspect the flood situation personally.
Earlier on Friday morning, the state government said that incessant rains coupled with the sudden release of water by DVC have led to a flood-like situation in six districts of the state.
The situation was such that the army and NDRF had to be called to assist the state government in the rescue operation in these areas. The situation is worst in districts like West and East Burdwan, Bankura, Birbhum, Hooghly and Howrah.
According to highly-placed sources in the state government, eight companies of army have been deployed so far with three companies each for West Burdwan and Howrah and two companies for Hooghly’s Khanakul and Arambagh areas.
Several areas of Asansol, particularly Railpar and Kalipahari, were underwater for which the army had to be deployed in these areas. In Asansol Municipal Corporation, 37 wards out of 106 were inundated. So far, 5,850 people have been evacuated and 36 relief camps have been opened in Asansol.
The army came with three boats from Panagarh while four teams of SDRF have already started the rescue operation. Valuables and cars and two-wheelers were also submerged as people were not prepared for such a situation.
Many people in Asansol took shelter on the roofs of their houses. Those living close to the Ajay river vacated the ground floors of their houses. The NH2 near Kalipahari in West Burdwan was also underwater, while the DRM office in Asansol was waterlogged.
“The areas under Asansol Municipal Corporation have been severely marooned. The villagers of Talbahari in Kanksa block near Ajay river were evacuated. Thirty families were shifted,” Abhijit Shevale, ADM (G) of West Burdwan, said.
Many areas in Bankura were also inundated as the Durgapur barrage water reached Barjora.
In Hooghly, water of the Dwarakeswar river entered several areas in Arambagh. Even Khanakul was inundated and the water also affected traffic along the Kalipur-Garbeta Road.
The situation in Udaynarayanpur in Howrah is also critical.