Around nine houses and agricultural fields were washed away recently due to rising water in Teesta River in Totgaon village Ellenbury Tea Estate under Bagrakote Gram Panchayat. The residents of the area have been facing such disastrous situations over the past decades.
Given this, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, on Friday, visited the said area and met the villagers and listened to their grievances. They alleged that despite requesting the District Administration and the State Government to provide relief and support for the past eight years, no solutions were provided to them.
MP Bista assured to notify the Ministry of Rural Development and other relevant Ministries and Central Agencies regarding the matter. He stated that he will present a demand for a holistic rain, flood and water management plan to be developed for the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars region, so that instances of landslides, flooding and riverbed erosion can be reduced in the coming days.
Apart from this, the MP donated essential relief materials to the victim families and stated that he will be extending them financial support of Rs 50,000 each towards the reconstruction of the homes.
MP Raju Bista’s released statement read:
Today, I visited Totgaon near Ellenbury T.E under Bagrakote G.P. Situated next to River Teesta, Totgaon, which falls under the Jalpaiguri District, has faced massive erosion of their land, agricultural fields, and even their homes over the past decades. In the past week alone, nine houses have been washed away due to rising water in River Teesta.
The villagers informed me that despite having requested the District Administration and the WB Government to provide relief and support for the past eight years, no steps have been taken so far to mitigate the flood, or to provide any sort of rehabilitation support to the villagers, citing lack of funds.
This is not an isolated event. Many villages situated on the lower side of river Teesta face with large-scale erosion every year due to rain, flash flood and rising river water. The situation has worsened following the construction of multiple dams along river Teesta, as the flow of water is dramatically increased during the monsoon, while the river practically runs dry during the winter months. This has resulted in ecological imbalance in the region, and also added to the vulnerabilities faced by the people living in the Teesta River Basin.
Lack of a long-term flood mitigation and management plans in the Terai and Dooars region of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Alipurduars, Jalpaiguri, North Dinjapur and Cooch Behar districts add substantial financial loss to the rural communities, who continue to suffer due to absolute indifference on the part of the West Bengal government.
While the West Bengal government under TMC had received thousands of crores under Flood Management Plan from the Central Government, and also as emergency grants under the Natural Disaster Management and Mitigation plans, the entire North Bengal region has been kept deprived of the measures needed to lower the risk of flood and erosion. In the hills, multiple landslides occur every year, and the WB Govt is least bothered to take necessary mitigation measures to prevent landslides. These situations are simply unacceptable.
We will be taking up this issue with the Ministry of Rural Development and other relevant Ministries and Central Agencies, and we will be demanding for a holistic rain, flood and water management plan to be developed for the Darjeeling hills, Terai and Dooars region, so that instances of landslides, flooding and riverbed erosion can be reduced in the coming days.
On a personal level, today I donated essential relief materials to the victim families, and I will be extending them a financial support of Rs 50,000 each towards the reconstruction of their homes.
I was joined by Hon’ble Jalpaiguri MP Sh. Jayanta Roy, Hon’ble Siliguri MLA Dr. Shankar Ghosh, and other BJP leaders, karyakartas and social workers from the region.