The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM prod on Hooghly erosion

Calcutta, March 21: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has directed the South 24-Parganas district magistrate to take immediate measures to check erosion along the banks of the Hooghly near the Raipur ferry ghat.

Villagers noticed a 200-ft breach in the embankment in the Nodakhali area on Tuesday morning and told Satgachhia MLA Sonali Guha that if the river is allowed to advance further, huts, schools and markets faced the threat of being swept away by tidal bore.

Guha apprised Bhattacharjee of the situation in a meeting yesterday and requested him to take steps to save the people of her constituency, which used to be Jyoti Basu’s pocket borough.

The embankment was weak, she said and accused the indifference of the irrigation department for the problem. “The irrigation department has not been heeding repeated complaints made by the villagers,” Guha said.

After the meeting, the chief minister instructed the irrigation department and the South 24-Parganas administration to repair the breach on a war footing.

District magistrate Alapan Bandopadhyay said Guha was pleased with the outcome of her talks with the chief minister. “I have also spoken to the irrigation department to see to it that repair work is speeded up so that further danger can be avoided,” he added.

Following the chief minister’s intervention, additional district magistrate Manish Jain and additional superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar Singh sat down with engineers of the irrigation department to chalk out the entire plan.

Bandopadhyay said the embankment was threatened as the river has taken a sharp turn from Raipur. “As a result of it, the embankment was breached. However, work has started and is going on smoothly.”

Local CPM leader Gokul Bairagi said residents had been asked to vacate the place long ago. “But they never listened to the request. A market also came up there.”

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