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Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Govt begins repair of damaged dyke

Move comes a week after villagers joined hands to temporarily repair the embankment

Anshuman Phadikar Digha Published 05.09.20, 03:01 AM
Repair of the embankment at Sankarpur on Friday

Repair of the embankment at Sankarpur on Friday Telegraph picture

The irrigation department has finally taken up the job to fix the damaged dyke in East Midnapore’s Sankarpur with black stones since Thursday, the move coming a week after villagers joined hands to temporarily repair the embankment to prevent frequent flooding of the area.

Since Thursday, the irrigation department has engaged a huge team of labourers in Sankarpur, a fishing harbour known for its dry fish business, to repair the damaged dyke.

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Over two days, 100 dumpers have brought in black stones that will be used to repair the dyke.

“High tides are expected to hit the area on September 17. The high tides could lead to severe flooding in the area. To prevent flooding in the area, we are repairing the embankment on a war footing,” said BDO of Ramnagar-I block, Bishnupada Roy.

An engineer in the irrigation department said a 7km stretch of the embankment between Sankarpur and Tajpur had been damaged. The work will be done in three phases.

“In the first phase, we will repair 2.8km of the stretch beginning from Sankarpur to Jalda. Tender for the first phase is complete. It will cost the government Rs 78 crore. The second phase will cover 3km of the embankment from Sankarpur to the confluence in Digha. It will be done for Rs 77 crore,” said assistant engineer of the irrigation department Swapan Mondal.

Swapan Mondal said in the third phase, the damaged embankment stretching from Tajpur to Jalda would be repaired. However, funds for the third phase have not been allotted as the sea has intruded into the pine forest that lines the beach.

As much of the pine forest has been damaged following intrusion of the sea, it has to be assessed separately and will be done later, an engineer in the irrigation department said.

Multiple sources in the Irrigation department said that the people’s initiatives in repairing the embankments was the trigger behind the department’s prompt decision to address the problem.

The Telegraph had reported on August 30 that 500 residents, mostly fishermen, in Sankarpur had temporarily repaired a 1km stretch that was damaged when high tides and incessant rain had lashed the area between August 20 and 23.

“Repeated pleas to district officials to repair the embankment did not elicit any response. So we thought we must do something to save ourselves,” a villager had told The Telegraph last week as he loaded bags with sand to place them on the top of the dyke that runs along the coastal road from Sankarpur to Tajpur.

Trinamul MLA and vice-chairman of the Digha-Sankarpur Development Authority Akhil Giri, however, said: “Fund for repair of the damaged embankment had already been allotted, but work could not start because of the lockdown. The work will be over before the end of monsoon.”

The Digha-Sankarpur Fishermen’s Association and the former CPM MLA from the area Swadesh Nayak had helped fishermen in Sankarpur to repair the damage.

The involvement of an Opposition leader like Nayak in the initiative forced the local Trinamul leadership to ask the administration to take up the project to repair the embankment on an emergency basis.

Asked about the government’s initiative, Nayak said: “The villagers had forced the government’s hands by taking up the job of repairing the embankment on their own. Though late, the initiative will help the poor villagers.”

In a related development, five dumpers carrying black stones got stuck on the beach in Digha when waves hit them during the high tide on Friday. Mandal said cranes had been deployed to retrieve the dumpers.

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