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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Sikkim flash flood on October 4 last year changed Teesta course: Bengal irrigation minister Partha Bhowmik

Bhowmik, who also took stock of several projects of the irrigation department in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts, said elaborate discussions had been held on the issue

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 17.01.24, 07:57 AM
Teesta river

Teesta river File picture

Bengal irrigation minister Partha Bhowmik on Tuesday said the Teesta had changed its course at eight locations in the state following the glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) on the South Lhonak Lake in Sikkim on October 4 last year.

“The flash flood has changed the river’s course. Because of such changes, some stretches along the Teesta's banks were damaged. We have identified those stretches and will take appropriate measures at the locations concerned. Necessary maintenance measures will be taken in some other areas because of the change in the river’s course,” Bhowmik said after attending a meeting with officials of his department at the state guest house.

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After the flash flood, a number of locations, especially in the downstream, that is, in Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts, were inundated. Heavy silt deposits on the riverbed also occurred because of the flash flood. Experts feel the river needs to be dredged ahead of the next monsoon to prevent floods.

Bhowmik, who also took stock of several projects of the irrigation department in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts, said elaborate discussions had been held on the issue.

“To avoid further damage, necessary work will start on time so that people do not face any inconvenience during the next rainy season,” he said.

The Teesta, which flows into Bengal from Sikkim through Kalimpong district, moves downstream into Jalpaiguri and then to Cooch Behar from where it enters Bangladesh.

The minister also told journalists that the irrigation department had started updating the records of land which had been acquired for the Teesta Barrage project.

The project, which was initiated in 1975, is yet to finish.

Sources in the department said around 90 per cent of the records had been updated in the past one year.

“It was during the Left Front government's tenure that the land was acquired for the project. However, there was no record of such land. We started updating the records and so far, it has been found that 5,498.40 acres were acquired in Jalpaiguri district, followed by Darjeeling (3,219.62 acres) and Cooch Behar (86.40 acres). This exercise will help us execute the project in future,” said Bhowmik.

As of now, 42 different projects of the department are in progress in north Bengal. Some of the projects deal with the repair of embankments and preventive measures to stem erosion, he said.

Rejuvenation

The state irrigation department will take the initiative to rejuvenate the Fuleswari and Jorapani — two rivulets which flow through Siliguri — from March. The Trinamul Congress-led Siliguri Municipal Corporation has requested the department to rejuvenate the Maheshmari, another stream, also.

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