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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Chief Minister seeks liability period in embankment repair

When the dykes were breached during Cyclone Yaas, a displeased Mamata had then wondered how levees with repairs less than a year old were damaged

Pranesh Sarkar Calcutta Published 03.06.21, 01:49 AM
Repair of the embankment at Sankarpur.

Repair of the embankment at Sankarpur. File Picture

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday forwarded a proposal to the irrigation department to insert a provision of liability period for agencies that would henceforth be engaged to repair an embankment.

Mamata’s proposal during a meeting at Nabanna is significant as it was found that 100-odd km of embankments were either damaged or breached during Cyclone Yaas though some of these stretches were repaired after Cyclone Amphan had struck last year in May.

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A displeased Mamata had then wondered how embankments with repairs less than a year old were damaged and questioned the quality of the work done.

“You can consider inserting a liability period of 10 years or so. This will ensure that embankments are repaired properly,” said the chief minister on Wednesday during the meeting to fix a road map to repair the damaged embankments after the cyclone.

Sources in the state government said that the proposal is timely particularly when the state government is trying to make embankments stand for a longer period so that people in low-lying areas do not face inundation every year.

The PWD has gained after inserting a liability period clause while floating tenders for repairing major roads, a source said.

The PWD fixed a liability period of five years for an agency that repairs or constructs a road. That means the agency has to repair the road if it is damaged within the liability period. This has improved the condition of roads across the state, said sources.

“If the same initiative is taken for embankments, it would also benefit the government as agencies have to repair damages within the liability period,” said an official.

The irrigation department told Mamata there are 3,500kms of embankments in the Sunderbans, which have to be strengthened to ensure that the areas get rid of regular inundation from breaching of embankments. “Some 150km of embankments needs to be strengthened with concrete brick blocks. Remaining 3,350km of embankments have to be strengthened by raising their heights,” said an official.

Experts from IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Madras and Jadavpur University had submitted a report to irrigation authorities after Amphan that the height of existing earthen embankments would have to be raised by 1.5 to 2 metres.

“Moreover, it was also proposed that mangroves (trees) have to be planted along embankments to strengthen the base of the earthen ones,” said another official.

The chief minister said the state government would plant 15 crore mangroves in the Sunderbans areas to ensure that cyclones leave a lesser impact on the embankments.

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