Mamata declares 12 districts flood-hit, toll increases to 83

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floods, bengal floods, west bengal floods, india floods, kolkata floods, mamata benerjee, kolkata news, west bengal news, india news, india floods news, indian express People try to move to safer places at a Bharatpur village in Murshidabad district on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday declared 12 districts in Bengal as flood-hit and demanded adequate funds from the Centre for post-flood work, even as the death toll mounted to 83.

Mamata held the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) responsible for the “abnormal” release of water from their barrages, claiming this resulted in the current situation, causing a huge loss of property and lives, a charge denied by the DVC.

Mamata added that she has sought appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit in Delhi on August 11 and 12 to discuss the situation and demand help from the National Disaster Relief Fund.

She added that she will submit a report to the Prime Minister and raise some crucial issues like modernisation and renovation of reservoirs owned by DVC — mostly in Jharkhand. “West Bengal will no more allow DVC to inundate Bengal. The death toll has gone up to 83,” she said, adding that she has lodged a complaint with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal in this
regard.

“The DVC headquarters is located in Bengal. It was doing business from Bengal, but has also inundating the state. It should have taken up modernisation work. Proper dredging could have given DVC the capacity to retain an additional 200,000 cusecs of water and it could have prevented the flooding of Bengal,” Mamata said.

Responding to Mamata’s allegations, a DVC spokesperson said: “We are constantly trying to find a suitable agency for dredging, but are yet to identify anyone.”
On Tuesday as well, DVC released 120,000 cusecs of water. It, however, countered the charge of excess discharge from its barrages, saying the release of water from the DVC system was not the reason for flooding in downstream areas.

“The flooding over the past few days is mainly due to the high tidal effects and Komen depression-related rainfall. The combined release on August 3 was 95,000 cusecs, which is lower than the safe downstream channel carrying capacity of the Damodar river, which is 1,10,000 cusecs,” DVC said in a release.

The DVC added that in spite of the unprecedented heavy rainfall in Jharkhand and West Bengal, DVC dams at Panchet and Maithon had been able to moderate the flow of water to a significant extent of 68 per cent for the last two days.

Meanwhile, the flood situation in South Bengal improved slightly as a result of no rain, reduced discharge of water from barrages and waning tides. The chief minister said 4.31 lakh people have taken shelter in 2,449 relief camps in the 12 affected districts.

Fourteen more people died, taking the state toll to 83. “Altogether, 2,449 relief camps have been set up to shelter over 4.31 lakh marooned people and 470 medical camps opened,” a source said, adding that the total number of affected people was over 61 lakh. Sources claimed that 1,07,808 houses were damaged and 3,68,238 houses destroyed partly. Crop over an area of 7,97,848 hectares has been damaged due to the floods.

With no rains and waning tides, the water level has started receding from inundated areas in Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, South-24 Parganas, North-24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum districts, state Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said.

“All BDOs and SDOs have been asked to submit reports as early as possible. The state government wants to disburse relief funds to the people with a notification by August 18,” said Mamata.

She added that the state finance minister has been asked to speak to banks regarding waiver of agricultural loans. “The department has been asked to advice if the farmers can take up cultivation of any alternative crop once the water receded. For this, a task force had also been formed,” the CM said.

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