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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

High tide spares Bengal coast, breach floods Sagar Island

A large part of the coastline in South 24-Parganas remained unaffected as many embankments of the district had been repaired after Cyclone Yaas

Pranesh Sarkar, Subhasish Chaudhuri Calcutta Published 27.06.21, 02:45 AM
An embankment on the banks of the Muriganga river in Sagar block of South 24-Parganas covered by geosynthetic sheet to protect the earthen structure from getting washed away.

An embankment on the banks of the Muriganga river in Sagar block of South 24-Parganas covered by geosynthetic sheet to protect the earthen structure from getting washed away. Mehaboob Gazi

Weak wind saved coastal Bengal from the wrath of the high tide on Saturday, but the state government is worried about a 150-metre breach in a river embankment at Ghoramara Island of Sagar Islands in South 24-Parganas.

A part of the island has been getting flooded regularly because the embankment has to be built afresh, but no land is available for it as of now.

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On Saturday, a large part of the coastline in South 24-Parganas remained unaffected by the high tide as many embankments of the district had been repaired after Cyclone Yaas and the wind lacked the strength to lift the tide. However, despite the weak wind, a large part of Ghoramara was inundated, water gushing in from the breached embankment.

The island was also flooded during a similar high tide on June 11 .

“On Saturday, most of the Yaas-hit areas did not face much trouble because of repaired embankments and weak winds. But Ghoramara faced fresh flooding because of the breached embankment,” said a senior irrigation official.

During Cyclone Yaas, a total of 150km of river embankments were either breached or damaged in three coastal districts — South and North 24-Parganas and East Midnapore. Most of the breaches or damages have been repaired, an irrigation department official said.

The stretch of 150m of embankment in Ghoramara Island is an exception.

Recently, officials of the irrigation department and Sunderbans development affairs and district officials visited Goramara Island and found that the breached part had to be constructed afresh.

“As the stretch of the embankment was washed away completely, a new embankment has to be built on land owned by local people. Now, they are not ready to part with their land. That’s why a new embankment could not be built yet,” said an official.

Ghoramara is an island facing regular erosion and that is why many residents have gradually shifted to either Kakdwip or Sagar Island.

“Only 7,000 to 8,000 people live in Ghoramara Island these days. But the government cannot leave them unattended. So, efforts are on to set up embankments in the breached part,” said an official.

As the state government doesn’t acquire land even for public purposes since Trinamul came to power in 2011, the problem has become critical.

“We are trying to make people understand that if they don’t give land for the embankment, they would face inundation with every high tide,,” said a source.

Sheet shield

In wake of Saturday’s high tide, the state irrigation department used geosynthetic sheets, a type of synthetic fabric that stabilises soil, to protect vulnerable river banks of the Sunderbans. The high tide, however, had little impact in the region as well as in coastal areas of East Midnapore because of weak wind. The high tide arrived at 10.50am on Saturday but there was not much change in water level.

Most vulnerable stretches of earthen dams were covered by irrigation officials with geosynthetics sheets in South 24-Parganas. Some breaches did occur in the district, but “nothing major”.

Additional reporting by Snehamoy Chakraborty

Bolt deaths

Bankura: Lightning killed two farmers and 22 sheep in three places in Bankura on Saturday.

Lightning struck Budhon Bauri, 40, of Haringara village, Barjora, Bholanath Mollah, 35, of Rajgram, and 22 sheep which were grazing in a field in Bankura’s Patrasayar.

Sources said in all 12 persons from Bankura were killed by lightning in one month. Earlier this month, at least 26 people in Bengal were killed by lighting in one day.

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