Indian men walk through a flooded area of Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district, west of Kolkata, on August 4, 2015.  Floods from days of torrential rain have now claimed at least 180 lives in India with one million people sheltering in relief camps after fleeing surging waters, officials said August 4.   Rivers have burst their banks, hitting thousands of villages in parts of West Bengal as well as northeastern Manipur state, where roads and bridges have been cut and communications were patchy. AFP PHOTO
Indian men walk through a flooded area of Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district, west of Kolkata, on August 4, 2015. Floods from days of torrential rain have now claimed at least 180 lives in India with one million people sheltering in relief camps after fleeing surging waters, officials said August 4. Rivers have burst their banks, hitting thousands of villages in parts of West Bengal as well as northeastern Manipur state, where roads and bridges have been cut and communications were patchy. AFP PHOTO

4.31 lakh people have already taken shelter in 2,449 relief camps in 12 districts of West Bengal

Kolkata : Eighty-three people lost their lives in West Bengal due to floods and heavy rain in the state. While chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday declared 12 districts as ‘flood-hit,’ she also held power ministry run Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) responsible for the floods in certain pockets as it allegedly released ‘abnormal’ quantity of water through barrages. DVC promptly denied the charges slapped by the chief minister.

“I also want to raise the issue of release of water by the DVC while meeting prime minister Narendra Modi,” Banerjee said.She said that she had lodged a complaint with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal over DVC’s ‘abnormal’ release of water. “Earlier too I had written to the DVC to undertake dredging and to increase the capacity of their reservoirs, but sadly it had done nothing of the sort. We always cooperate with the DVC, but it doesn’t cooperate,” she alleged.

Refuting to her allegations, DVC, however, said the charge of excess discharge from its barrages, flooding the downstream areas are not true.

“The flooding over the past few days is mainly due to the high tidal effects and KOMEN depression-related rainfall. The combined release on August 3 was 95,000 cusecs which is lower than the safe downstream channel carrying capacity of the Damodar river which is 1,10,000 cusecs,” DVC said in a release.  Meanwhile, Congress and Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) got themselves engaged in political battle over the floods too.

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CM to meet PM to seek aid

Looking to obtain Central help for flood-hit West Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is set to reach the national capital on August 11 and has sought a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to a close aide, Banerjee has sought an appointment with Modi during her two-day visit to discuss the flood situation and place her demands for assistance from the National Disaster Relief Fund for Bengal. Sources in state administration, meanwhile said that 1,07,808 houses were damaged and 3,68,238 houses destroyed partly. Crop over an area of 7,97,848 hectares has been damaged due to the floods. “With no rains and waning tides, the water level has started receding from inundated areas in Burdwan, Hooghly,Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura and Birbhum districts,” state Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee said while updating the grim situation. He said. the affected areas included 233 blocks, 53 municipal bodies, two municipal corporations and 781 gram panchayats (GPs) covering 16,309 villages. So far, 10,088 cattle heads were lost, Shelter for those surviving would be made after the water recedes, added the Minister talking to mediapersons in Kolkata.

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Ambar Mukherjee

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