Siliguri, Jun 6 : Approaching monsoon has started ringing alarm bell in North East Region of India(NER) and Northern West Bengal, two of the worst flood affected areas of the country.
Bengal's latest initiative to form a special '(flood) combat force,' also could not increase the confidence level of perpetually victim areas in the sate. Despite many flood controlling authorities or their projects, flooding and inundation are likely to continue this year too badly hampering agro economy of the entire region.
"A special combat force is being formed to take up flood damage control activities. Specialized on the job, this force can be of great help to the disaster prone areas," said, Irrigation and Waterways Minister Rajib Banerjee. But the announcement could hardly generate any extra confidence in commonly victim areas.
Annual heavy erosion in East Bank of Farakka upstream is one of the largest threats in entire Ganga basin. "This will become violent this year too, be there any force or not," said Mr. M. Alam, senior member of Ganga Bhangan Pratirodh Action Nagorik Committee. Large scale dredging of Ganga to give it strength to withstand 25Lakh cusec monsoon period hydroload was proposed earlier. But, "None is there to arrange the fund of over Rs 1,600 crore needed for the job," said Mr. Alam.
"Water retaining capacity of all foothills rivers has also gone down badly due to heavy siltation. Naturally, flooding of both banks, in case of heavy water flow, has become obvious. Dams or walls are minuscule relief only," said geologist from NBV University Dr. S Sarkar.
According to National Commission on Flood reports, contribution of NER is very high in national average loss of Rs 1,000 crore due to flood. And, frequency, intensity, spatial coverage or magnitudes of flood damage in NER and NB are increasing year after year.
As per the report of special task force of the Water Resources Development ministry, West Bengal suffered most due to flood in last 50 years. The overall loss was estimated as around Rs 15,000 along with loss of more than 8,700 human lives and over 6 lakh livestock. On an average, floodwater washes out more than 2.5 lakh heater agro land every year causing heavy loss.
To handle the situation, Government of India approved Rs 8,000 crore Flood management Program for 11th Plan period. There was GoI's Critical flood control and anti-erosion schemes worth Rs 305 crore, or scheme for anti-erosion projects in the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys worth Rs 225 Crore.
Another State Sector scheme of Rs. 166.68 crore for NER and West Bengal is tere. Above all, Brahmaputra Board has earmarked Rs 800 crore for NBFCC area for the period till 2017. But these all put together could hardly build up any extra confidence level for the victims.