Siliguri/Jalpaiguri, Sept. 23: Bengal irrigation minister Manas Bhunia today sanctioned Rs 23 crore for the speedy repair of embankments along the Teesta which had suffered damage in the earthquake.
While the right embankment of the Teesta subsided at Rangdhamali and Vivekanandapally, the river faces breach on the left barrier at Malbazar. The embankment of the Mahananda at Fulbari had also developed cracks.
The minister today visited Rangdhamali, Vivekanandapally and Fulbari and asked officials to carry out repairs expeditiously. He didn’t announce any amount for the restoration of the embankment at Fulbari.
“We always give priority to the development of north Bengal. I have come to visit the dykes which were damaged in the earthquake. Instructions were passed on to the engineers of the irrigation department to repair the barriers on a war footing,” Bhunia told journalists.
The embankment was damaged for a stretch of 500 metres at Vivekanandapally and 200 metres at Rangdhamali.
Bhunia also visited the residence of Shibu Haldar at Dabgram in Siliguri. Haldar died in the earthquake while working at a hydel project in north Sikkim. The minister was accompanied by Matigara-Naxalbari MLA Shankar Malakar and Siliguri mayor Gangotri Datta.
From Dabgram, he went to console the bereaved family of Binod Agarwal at Khalpara. Agarwal, a businessman, died when a boundary wall collapsed in the tremor.
“The minister visited Rangdhamali and Vivekanandapally. Cracks had appeared on the embankment at some spots, while crevices were found on the earth near the barrier elsewhere,” said Narayan Chatterjee, the chairperson of North Bengal Flood Control Commission. “We have also told him about the affected embankment at Malbazar and on that basis, he has sanctioned around Rs 23 crore for restoration works.”
The dykes need immediate repair as the rivers are rising rapidly. “Rains are continuing and if the embankments are not restored soon, the rivers will breach the banks and water will gush into residential areas,” said a senior official of the irrigation department.