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Howrah/Hooghly: After flight permissions were cancelled due to inclement weather, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday took the road to Howrah’s Amta and waded through flood water to reach out to affected people.
Accompanied by Howrah district magistrate Mukta Arya and state minister Pulak Ray, Banerjee cut short her trip to Udaynarayanpur as roads went under water, got off amid heavy rain at Sehagari bridge and stood there to hear people out.
The CM said: “It is a man-made flood. Last two years, there had been no major flood as there was coordination with the state government. But now there is a new person (in DVC) and he is not heeding our pleas. DVC is releasing water on their whim. Till there is proper desiltation of the dams of DVC, there will be floods in Arambagh, Khanakul, Goghat, Ghatal, Daspur, Udaynarayanpur, Amta areas.”
She added that she had spoken to the prime mnister about the release of water from DVC that was creating havoc in Bengal and urged the removal of silt from DVC dams. “Thousands of houses and agriculture fields have been damaged badly,” she said.
Banerjee told flood-hit people that the state government was trying to arrange adequate relief materials. A section of people have taken shelter on Sehagari bridge as their houses are flooded and are staying under tarpaulins.
Speaking to people, the CM said DVC’s release of 2 lakh cusecs of water from the Panchet, Maithon and Tenughat dams had led to the severe flooding. She added that after 2016, the state had faced floods in 2017, 2019 and now in 2021 for the same reason.
Bengal, she indicated, would also send to the Centre a report on damage assessment due to floods. Sixteen people have died in the floods and several lakh acres of agricultural land are under water.
Earlier in the day, there was expectation among the flood-hit in Khanakul, but their hopes were dashed by a heavy shower that washed away the temporary helipad at Ghospur school ground. By then, several thousands had come to the ground amid heavy rain to get a glimpse of the CM.
Later, district Trinamool Congress president Dilip Yadav announced that Banerjee would come some other day.
Braving the shower, Banerjee had started from home with plans to visit Amta, Udaynarayanpur and Khanakul by road, but had to stop midway as the road to Udayanarayanpur was under water and going ahead would be a security threat to her, according to senior police officers. The CM then stopped to speak to villagers in Amta amid knee-deep water.