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1 Jul 2017

Teesta floods homes and fields

A youth stands on the eroded bank of the
Teesta. Picture by Biplab Basak
TT, Jalpaiguri, June 30: Several patches of agricultural land and over 10 houses have been marooned in the Champadanga area under Malbazar block of Jalpaiguri district by the raging Teesta river on its left bank during the past 24 hours.
The inundation has been attributed to the additional water discharged from the Teesta Barrage in Rajganj block of Jalpaiguri district.
Sources in the state irrigation department said heavy rain in Sikkim had brought water downstream.
Administrative officials in Jalpaiguri said the river had gobbled around 500 bighas of agricultural land in the Paschim Sangopara and Dakshin Changmari areas, located under Champadanga, in the past 24 hours.
"As the left bank is unprotected (there is no embankment) in the two areas, 11 huts are also under water. The water level is consistently rising and another 150 families, who have their homes close to the river, have been shifted to safer places," an official of the Malbazar block said.
This morning, the residents said, the block administration made public announcements in their areas, mentioning the rise in the water level of the Teesta and asking people to be alert.
"Such flood-like situations happen every year and we lose our land and homes. We fail to understand why the irrigation department is not taking steps to build an embankment," Jadhab Roy, a farmer and a local resident, said.
The block administration, sources said, has deployed rescue teams to act in case of a crisis. "We have also opened relief centres and are providing food and other assistance to the affected families. The district administration has sought a report from us on the loss. We are preparing it," Mrinal Sarkar, a Trinamul member of the local panchayat, said.
Bhusan Sherpa, the Malbazar block development officer, said the administration had also started protection works on the river banks on an emergency basis.
"The irrigation department has engaged workers who are making stone cages to prevent further erosion. We are keeping a close watch over the situation," he said.

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