The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flood mission in Malda

Malda, Nov. 21: An irrigation department team will be here on Sunday to find ways to contain floods in the district, apprehending the worst next monsoon.

Two ministers of the irrigation department, Amalendra Lal Roy and Ganesh Mondol, will arrive along with two chief engineers to survey the damage caused by this year’s flood.

Executive engineer of the district irrigation department Pundarikaksha Roy said the condition of Panchanandapur, which suffered the most because of the ravenous Ganga this year, is still precarious. “If there is a flood next year, no one can save Malda. Parts of the district would be wiped off the map.” A ninth embankment has to be constructed to save the district from another flood attack, said Roy.

“This year, the river swallowed 1.6 km of the embankment. It could wreak the same havoc next year. Moreover, the Ganga is flowing alarmingly close to Panchanandapur,” Roy said.

In September, the Ganga, the Phulhar and the Pagla rivers battered large parts of the district. Thousands were rendered homeless. Early that month, the irrigation department lost its showpiece, the sprawling Ganga Bhavan, which disappeared in the swirling waters of the Ganga that ran through the banks in Panchanandapur and gobbled up 450 homes.

Sources said the Ganga’s bed at Panchanandapur now lay at a depth of 110 feet. It was at 35 feet earlier. The union of the Pagla and the Ganga has made matters worse. The rivers had merged during the monsoon.

The Phulhar has merged with the Ganga at Mathurapur in Manikchak. “We need a plan to prevent the Phulhar from wiping out the densely-populated Mathurapur,” said Roy.

The irrigation department has already drawn up a draft action plan and identified the location of the new embankment.

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