Two persons, including a child, have died and over 22 lakh people have been affected by floods in West Bengal, the State’s Chief Secretary said on Friday.
Speaking to journalists at the State Secretariat Nabanna Buildings, West Bengal Chief Secretary H.K. Dwivedi said that the flood situation had become serious because of discharge of water from the reservoir of two river systems, the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) on the Damodar river, and the Sikatiya Barrage on the Ajay river. Mr. Dwivedi said preliminary estimates suggested that over 1 lakh houses had been damaged, and 2 lakh people had taken shelter in about 1,500 camps in south Bengal. About 4 lakh people have been evacuated in these areas.
Several areas of Howrah, Hooghly, Paschim Medinipur, Paschim Bardhaman and Birbhum have been affected by the floods. Eight columns of Army have been deployed in the affected areas, along with 25 companies of the National Disaster Response Force and 24 companies of the State Disaster Response Force. About 200 boats have also been pressed into service in the affected areas. The State government has provided necessary relief, including foodgrains and about 6 lakh tarpaulins. Among the blocks affected by floods are Arambagh and Khanakhul in Hooghly; Udaynarayanpur and Amta in Howrah; Asansol in Paschim Bardhaman; Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur; and Nanoor in Birbhum.
2 floods in 2 months
Mr. Dwivedi said that this was the second floods the people of the region were braving this year. The people of the region had faced a similar flood situation in the end of July and the first week of August 2021, but the situation has been even more grim this time. The south Bengal region has witnessed heavy rainfall in the past few days. The Chief Secretary said that the discharge of water from the Panchet and Maithon reservoirs of the DVC had increased from 49,000 cusecs of water on the afternoon of September 30 to about 1.50 lakh cusecs of water at 8 a.m. on October 1. The water discharge from the DVC as per latest reports is about 1.25 lakh cusecs, he added.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier this year described the situation as “man-made floods”, blaming the discharge of water from the DVC’s reservoirs. A team of Ministers had visited Delhi and met officials of the concerned Ministry and urged that a long-term solution be found for the crisis. The Chief Minister is likely to conduct an aeriel survey of the flood-affected region.