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September 9, 2019

Centre not funding Bangla’s flood control, irrigation projects despite assurances

Centre not funding Bangla’s flood control, irrigation projects despite assurances

Despite repeated assurances, the Centre is not funding or has stopped funding several projects in Bangla related to flood control and irrigation, said the Irrigation Minister in the Assembly recently.

He said the State Government had given its approval for the Ghatal Master Plan way back in 2015. It was supposed to be funded to the tune of 75 per cent by the Central Government; in fact, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to the Centre in 2017, reminding it of its obligation. However, till date, the Centre has failed to provide the funds, with the result that the State Government has had to start the project on its own.

Not just that, the Centre has reduced its funding for several other projects from 75 per cent of the cost to just 50 per cent. The projects include the repairing of river bunds in the Sundarbans damaged by Cyclone Aila, building of canals in the Keleghai-Kalpeswari river basin, Kandi Master Plan, and a few others.

He also said that despite assurance, the Centre has not done anything regarding the project of preventing riverbank erosion along the Ganga and Bhagirathi.

The Minister gave the following data on State funding of flood and irrigation projects:

Ghatal Master Plan
State has spent Rs 73.03 crore till date, another Rs 116 crore after the rainy season

Kandi Master Plan
Instead of Rs 437.94 crore, Centre has given only Rs 57.45 crore
As a result, State Government has had to provide an additional Rs 166 crore, its total spend being Rs 209 crore
In FY 2016-17, Rs 150.40 crore asked for, only Rs 12.61 crore given
In FY 2017-18, Rs 150.61 crore asked for, only Rs 56 crore given

Repairing of Cyclone Aila-damaged embankments in the Sundarbans
In FY 2018-19, Rs 120 crore asked for, only Rs 23.65 crore given
In May, Rs 130 crore asked for, Rs 117.12 crore given

Keleghai-Kalpeswari River Basin Project
No funds provided in FY 2015-16 and 2016-17
In FY 2017-18, Rs 55.47 crore asked for, only Rs 8.08 crore given

Preventing riverbank erosion along Ganga and Bhagirathi
Work on 100.22km to be done, at a cost of Rs 793.93 crore
Of this, State spent Rs 156 crore in Nadia and Murshidabad districts
The rest was to be spent by the Centre, being part of national waterways.
State spent its part, but the Centre did not

Source: Bartaman