West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking a technical study on the erosion of the river Ganga in the areas adjoining the Farakka Barrage.
“I would, therefore, urgently request you to advise the concerned Ministry to arrange for a detailed technical study involving all stakeholders, like the governments of West Bengal and Bihar, and the Ganga Flood Control Commission and the FBPA [Farakka Barrage Protection Authority],” Ms. Banerjee wrote in the letter.
The Chief Minister said that the findings of the study may then be utilised to formulate an integrated plan to combat erosion in this zone which is now the need of the hour.
Earlier this year on February 21, the Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister on the same issue. The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Government of India, Prahlad Singh Patel through his letter dated July 28, 2022 had replied to the letter.
“In fact, the extent of erosion is so severe that the distance between the Ganga and Fulhar, has come down to only 1.5 km at Billaimari of Manichak block in Malda district, from its earlier distance of 4.0 km recorded in 2004, thus posing serious threats to people of the adjoining villages and even to the safety of the National Highway 131 A— an important road connectivity route in the area connecting North Bengal to South Bengal,” Ms. Banerjee said in the letter.
The Chief Minister said in the communication that the Union Minister had in his letter, indicated that the Farakka Barrage Project had executed the anti-erosion/river protection work to the tune of ₹342 crore between 2005-2019.
“However, it is noticed that the area is still suffering from severe erosion problems at several sites, including repeated erosion at the same site. As a result, it is clear that the anti-erosion efforts have been attempted piecemeal, with no holistic approach taken,” Ms. Banerjee said.
She also pointed out that in the absence of defined guidelines, strategy and funding pattern under the Flood Management and Border Areas Programme (FMVAP) from 2018 to February 2022, “there was hardly any scope for us to include any new flood management projects under this programme like the Ganga Padma Erosion Protection Work”.
Ms. Banerjee wrote that the government had taken up erosion-abatement work for a length of 14m at a total cost of more than ₹80 crore.