The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Disaster team for Digha coast

Digha, Oct. 13: Alarmed at the steady erosion of land, the Digha Development Authority has constituted a Natural Calamity Protection and Disaster Management Committee with experts from Jadavpur University and the School of Oceanography of Vidyasagar University.

The vice-chancellor of Vidyasagar University and chairman of the authority, Anandadev Mukhopadhyay, said the committee would study coastal cyclone, waves and land erosion and devise means to prevent the havoc they wreck in this seaside town.

“Our focus will be on land erosion in Old Digha. Officials of the environment departments of both the state and the Centre and the Coastal Regulatory Zone will also be consulted,” Mukhopadhyay said. The authority would meet at least once in two months, he added.

Mukhopadhyay, who took over as chairman in August, sounded critical about the previous managements of the development authority when he said its meetings should have been convened on regular intervals.

“The authority met on October 4, nine months after the bifurcation of Midnapore district in January,” he added.

He also alleged that efforts to develop Digha as a better tourist destination were not quite up to the mark in the past few months. “The DDA has failed to achieve anything meaningful for tourists,” Mukhopadhyay said.

At a marathon meeting on October 4 the authority decided that an executive board comprising representatives from the departments of public health engineering, irrigation, construction and forest will follow an integrated programme to develop Digha.

Representatives from the departments of environment, urban planning and the authority, along with officials from different blocks in the district and the land and land reforms department, will constitute a panel to oversee land assessment, conservation, distribution and measurements.

Mukhopadhyay said: “Mushrooming of shops and other establishments along the coast has to be stopped at any cost. We have arrived at a consensus regarding the matter with all the political parties in Digha.”

Plastic bags and cups have been banned in and around the town. “Any violation will lead to fine and imprisonment.”

Digha’s land use map is being updated. Services at the hotels, restaurants, museums and science parks are also being reassessed. “We should ensure that tourists get value for money. We have already delayed this and I don’t want it to get further delayed,” said Mukhopadhyay.

He urged the private fishing companies not to leave rotten fish on the beach.

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