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October 4, 2013

A Series of Development Initiatives by the Irrigation & Waterways Department

A Series of Development Initiatives by the Irrigation & Waterways Department
Poribartan was the key word of Trinamool Congress when it took over the governance of West Bengal in May 2012. Down the line, in the past two years, the Maa, Mati, Manush Government has not only completed what was there to do according to its pre-election promise, but did more than anybody could expect. There has been changes in every sphere, from Jangalmahal to GTA, from Sundarban Development to Industrial sector, on must admit that there has been a change, change towards a bright future. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, working 16-18 hrs a day visited every nook and corner of the State, personally, making instant decisions, taking stock of the developmental works. An unforeseen aura of good governance has been implemented, thanks to Didi.
Previously West Bengal was often in news for its lack in irrigational system, resulting in flood, loss of crops. It was the rural people who bore the brunt of natural calamities. Farmers would lose their life savings. Ms Mamata Banerjee, being a visionary, stressed on proper utilization of energy in the irrigational sector of the State.
An overview of the amazing amount of works done by the Irrigation Dept. in these two years :
Canal networking in irrigation sector have been completed on 25.50 thousand hector, the highest ever in last ten years.
Coverage of area under irrigation through completed and on-going major and medium irrigation projects in different districts during khariff season of 2011 was 862.57 thousand hector, which is 83% more than the corresponding area of 2010.
More or less 47.0 thousand hector of land in Phansidewa, Rajganj, Jalpaiguri Sadar, Mal, Moynaguri and Chopra Blocks could be brought under the fold of irrigation through canal networks of Teesta Barrage Project during Rabi/Boro cultivation in 2011-12. This is the highest ever coverage in a single season achieved so far since inception of the project.
In spite of occurrence of excess rainfall during monsoon of 2011 to the tune of 75%, 34% and 15% in South Bengal districts in July, August and September respectively, flood related inundation in protected areas could be substantially minimized through continuous interaction with the Central Government organizations and Government of Jharkhand for regulating release of flood water from reservoirs and round the clock patrolling as well as prompt undertaking of restoration works. The number of breaches to embankments was minimal compared to previous years.
Works of mega flood control projects being executed under joint Centre-State efforts, i.e. `Reconstruction of Aila affected Sundarban embankments` in North & South 24 Parganas and `Kaliaghai-Kapaleswari-Baghai(KKB) Basin Drainage Scheme` in Purba and Paschim Medinipur was started at site in 2011-12.
Desiltation of Ichhamati River along the international boundary in North 24 Parganas was successfully completed under joint monitoring of Government of India and Government of Peoples` Republic of Bangladesh.
Resuscitation of major drainage channels in Kolkata Metropolitan area, the Tolly`s Nullah and Upper Bagzola Khal has commenced.
Reconstruction of one and half century old Anicut structure on river Kangsabati near Midnapore town, which was lying defunct since last five years, is on process. After completion of the work, it would create the potential of producing 84000 M.T. of Khariff paddy in nearly 50000 acre of area in Paschim & Purba Medinipur.
Responding to the growing demand of construction of rural bridges on drainage channels and irrigation canals for improvement of connectivity and effective use of road networking, an all time record number of thirty four RCC road bridges have been taken up in a single year in North & South 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Purba & Paschim Medinipur districts. The most important of these is the bridge on river Kangsabati connecting Lalgarh directly with Jhargram.
The long pending Detailed Project Report (DPR) for flood protective works in Kandi area in Murshidabad has recently been techno-economically cleared by the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR), Government of India. 
Major policy decisions/reforms made by the Government since June, 2011 :
Report of the West Bengal Flood Control Commission constituted under the Chairmanship of the Minister-in-Charge of the Irrigation & Waterways Department has been brought out and submitted to Chief Minister. This report will pave the way for formulating a roadmap in addressing the problems of floods and erosion in the State of West Bengal.
State Water Policy for effective use of water resources defining interalia, sectoral priorities has been finalized.
Report of the Committee constituted on improvement of drainage infrastructure of Kolkata Metropolitan area has been published and submitted to all stake-holding departments for action.
District level Monitoring Committee comprising Members of Parliament, including Central Ministers, Members of Legislative Assembly, including State Ministers, Chairpersons of Zilla Parishad, District Magistrates of the concerned districts and District as well as State level officers of the Irrigation & Waterways Department have started functioning in various districts.
In order to promote transparency the Irrigation & Waterways Department has switched over to e-tendering since October, 2011 for big value works. Initial lower limit for e-tendering was Rs. 1.25 crore, which has further been brought down to Rs. 50.00 lakh.
Bottom-line :
The Irrigation & Waterways Dept. is about to relieve the farmers in West Bengal from the fear of flood and the subsequent loss of crop. Under the able guidance of Mamata Banerjee and the Maa, Mati, Manush Government, the common people will get their good night sleep, come what may.