Chief minister Mamata Banerjee squarely blamed the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) for the worsening flood situation in the state on Tuesday, even as more areas in six districts of South Bengal went under water.
A combination of heavy rain over the past few days and water released by dams and barrages of DVC on Monday and Tuesday deepened the crisis in the districts of Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, Bankura, West Midnapore and Nadia, leaving thousands of families stranded in inundated villages and forcing many to take shelter in relief camps. Some areas of Adra in Purulia were also affected.
During a visit to North Bengal, Mamata blamed DVC for releasing water without informing the state and threatened legal action against it. “The corporation releases water at its whim and fancy, without bothering to inform us. If this continues, we will stop cooperating with them and consider taking legal measures,” she said.
DVC released around 150,000 cusecs of water between Sunday and Monday afternoon, of which 120,000 cusecs were from its Panchet and Maithon dams. This inundated vast swathes of the districts. On Tuesday, 138,547 cusecs of water was released from DVC’s Durgapur barrage. Nearly 50 villages of Hooghly’s Arambag sub-division, several villages of Ghatal and Chandrakona blocks in West Midnapore, and Burdwan’s Udaynarayanpur and Mangalkot blocks were the worst hit.
While the situation is improving in parts of West Midnapore, there are chances of it worsening in Arambag because the water is flowing towards Hooghly and Howrah. Amta block of Howrah too may soon get flooded,” a senior district official of Hooghly told HT.
In Ghatal and Chandrakona, embankments along an overflowing Silabati river were breached at three places. Damodar, Rupnarayan, Mudeshwari and Darakeshwar rivers were also overflowing, submerging a vast amount of farmland.
Manas Majumdar, Trinamool MLA of Goghat, one of the worst-hit blocks, told HT, “Hundreds of families have been moved to permanent rescue centres and school buildings. Food grains meant for mid-day meals are being used to feed them. We are asking villagers in the flooded areas not to drink water from tube wells.” But several villagers of Hooghly, Howrah and West Midnapore complained of inadequate relief, lack of speed boats and tardy rescue operations.
In Nadia, the Hooghly was flowing above the danger-level in several areas of Shantipur and Nabadwip blocks — both on the eastern bank of the river — and many areas were under water.