Mamata Banerjee flags erosion in Ganga Council meeting

“Vast stretches of Malda and Murshidabad districts of the State were affected by erosion of the river bank,” Mamata Banerjee said and sought the Centre’s help in checking the disaster.

Published - December 31, 2022 11:46 am IST - Kolkata

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. File | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on December 31 brought to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi the issue of river bank erosion and how it impacts the lives of thousands of people at the National Ganga Council meeting in Kolkata, according to officials.

“Vast stretches of Malda and Murshidabad districts of the State were affected by erosion of the river bank,” she said and sought the Centre’s help in checking the disaster.

“In every deltaic tract, riverbank erosion occurs frequently. West Bengal is not an expectation to this phenomenon," officials quoted the Chief Minister as saying at the closed-door meeting.

“The Ganga has caused significant erosion in the entire Dhulian region in Murshidabad district for many years,” she said adding that the erosion has intensified since the construction of Farakka Barrage.

“The people living along the bank of the Ganga in Dhulian are also suffering from erosion-induced problems from past decades,” Ms. Banerjee said. She sought the help of the Central government in checking erosion.

"The Farakka Barrage's downstream part still has a problem with erosion and population displacement. As a measure to manage flooding and river bank erosion, it is advised to establish a Flood Control Commission,” she said.

The CM said that dredging, deforestation, civil construction and several other human activities are the foremost causes of loosening of the topsoil and increase in the discharge of debris that flows through the rivers.

“This increases the height of riverbeds and reduces the water retaining capacity of rivers,” she said, urging the Centre to help tackle the issue.

Ms. Banerjee said the Ganga Sagar mela, held at Sagar Dwip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal on Makar Sankranti every year, is next only to Kumbh Mela in importance.

"The State government has developed the site and increased lots of amenities for the pilgrims," she said. She also referred to the Sundarbans Master Plan initiated by the State as a comprehensive initiative towards sustainable development of the Mangrove bio-diversity area with the primary objective of conservation of wildlife through breeding and nurturing of endangered species of the region.

The master plan aims to integrate and develop tourism alongside fostering the biodiversity of the region, Ms. Banerjee said at the two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting.

While Mr. Modi attended the meeting virtually, Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Bhupender Yadav, Sarbananda Sonowal and R. K. Singh were present physically at the venue — the first floor of the anchored warship of Navy INS Netaji Subhas.

Besides Ms. Banerjee, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, his counterparts in Uttarakhand and Jharkhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami and Hemant Soren respectively, were present at the meeting. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav was also there. None of the participants talked to the media.

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