West Bengal Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee today said that despite repeated requests from the state government, the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) authority "never thought of the people's lives and livelihood" before releasing water from its reservoirs in Jharkhand.
Replying to a question in the state assembly, Banerjee said that the DVC authority hardly gives any importance to the feeling of the state government or house and properties of those inundated following release of water by it.
The minister said that the DVC authority is releasing water from its reservoirs in Jharkhand in consultation with the Central Water Commission (CWC) and "consistently without consulting" the state government despite repeated requests.
Banerjee also alleged that the DVC is more serious about generating power, than saving lives and properties of people.
As a result, a vast area covering many south Bengal districts in the downstream gets inundated affecting a large number of people each year during monsoon, he said.
Considering heavy spell of rain during last week in the month of July, the West Bengal government had requested the DVC management as well as the CWC authority under Damodar Valley River Regulation Committee (DVRRC) to take appropriate precautionary measures to hold the water at Tenughat and other reservoirs in Jharkhand to save people from inundation.
Requests had also been sent to them for releasing water slowly after retaining water till it reached to the maximum level at the reservoirs both in writing and verbally, Banerjee said.
Replying to another question, the minister claimed that the state government did not receive adequate financial help for 'Kandi Master Plan' to check floods in Murshidabad district and adjoining areas.
The state government has so far received only Rs 25.17 crore for this scheme, while the state government has incurred an amount of Rs 219 crore till now for it, he said replying to a supplementary question.
The Modi government has also changed the funding pattern of this project from 75:25 for Centre and state contribution to 50:50 basis, Banerjee said.
To another supplementary question, Banerjee said that a plan would soon be taken up for two years to prevent Goghat and Arambagh in Hooghly district from floods.
Replying to another question, the minister informed the House that an amount of Rs 232.19 crore has been allotted by the state government during the year 2017-18 for repair and renovation of breached embankments in the Sundarbans.
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