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June 17, 2018

No central funds for Ghatal Master Plan, Bengal Govt livid

No central funds for Ghatal Master Plan, Bengal Govt livid

After coming to power, Mamata Banerjee had instructed the Irrigation Department to draw up a plan to provide relief to the people of Ghatal from recurrent floods every year. This ‘master plan’ was drawn up by the department and sent to the Centre for clearance in 2014. Although the Centre has finally given its nod to Ghatal Master Plan, but they have not allocated any fund for the Rs 1238 crore project.

The Chief Secretary of the Union Minister of Water Resources communicated the same to state government officials last week. The Bengal Government is livid as the Centre has refused to bear the cost of the project. The officials have decided to write to the Centre seeking funds for Ghatal Master Plan.

As per the officials, this is yet another example of the neglect shown by Centre towards the State. In the past, for irrigation projects, the Centre and State used to share the cost at a ratio of 75-25. After Narendra Modi led government came to power, the share of Centre was reduced to 50 per cent. But in case of Ghatal Master Plan, the Centre has not even allocated funds for its share of 50 per cent.

What is Ghatal Master Plan?

As per the irrigation department officials, during monsoon, areas of Ghatal get inundated by the waters of Shilabati river. This causes a lot of trouble to the people of the region. Even areas like Chetua, Daspur 1 and 2 blocks are affected. The master plan was drawn up to provide relief to the people. The plan includes construction of a 6 meter dam over Shilabati river and installation of a pump (with 5000 cusec capacity) in Ghatal. This apart, desiltation work will be carried out at Old Kosi, New Kosi, Durgachoti and other rivers to increase navigability. Repair work would be carried out for several canals.

By not allotting funds for Ghatal Master Plan, the Centre has yet again dealt a several blow to the federal structure of the country.