The West Bengal Government has put the Army on alert as several parts of the State are faced with a flood-like situation after the release of 2.5 lakh cusecs of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) reservoir without prior information, said Asim Dasgupta, the State’s Finance Minister, here on Monday.
Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will write to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him that a mechanism should be developed to release water from the DVC reservoir and the Subarnarekha barrage in a phased manner, Mr. Dasgupta said.
The districts of Hooghly, Howrah, Paschim Medinipur, Bardhaman and parts of Purba Medinipur will be affected by the surge in water levels, he said adding that district authorities have been asked to evacuate people from the low-lying areas.
Mr. Dasgupta held a high level meeting with Subhash Naskar, the State’s Minister for Irrigation, Mortaza Hossain Minister for Disaster Management and Srikumar Mukherjee the Minister of State for Civil Defence.
In addition to the Rs. four crores that was sanctioned for flood relief on Sunday, Rs. seven crores was set aside as aid for people in the affected areas, Mr. Dasgupta said. Dry rations and 40,000 tarpaulin sheets were dispatched, he added.
The waters will reach the vulnerable areas by nightfall, in anticipation of which three teams of the disaster management force and 136 personnel of the civil defence were deployed, he said.
“Evacuations and preparations could have been made in advance if we had any intimation that waters in such huge quantities would be released today[Monday],” said Mr. Naskar.
Following incessant rains over the past two days, water levels in the rivers were already high – a situation compounded by the release from the DVC reservoir, Mr. Naskar said.
If the DVC releases even 80,000 cusecs of water it could lead to a flood-like situation and suddenly it released 2.5 lakh cusecs, Mr. Mukherjee said.