Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Bid to repair a dyke to save a town

Different political parties reached in a consensus to evict about two hundred families from the embankment of Teesta river to save Mekhliganj town. Accordingly the sub-divisional administration started evicting the families. Similar measure has been demanded in Cooch Behar too to save the heritage town from the rage of Torsa river.

At the first phase, the sub-divisional administration of Mekhliganj took the initiative. They convened an all-party meeting to discuss the problem of erosion of Teesta as the river was posing danger to the town. On Tuesday the meeting was held where the leaders of several political parties reached in a consensus to shift the dwellers that were living on the embankment. They felt that eviction was necessary to pave the way to repair the embankment. It was decided that about 200 families would be evicted from a stretch of about 2300-metre area of the embankment. The evicted families are to get permission to take shelter at a flood rescue shelter and a building of the local regulated market committee.

Though the leaders of the political parties agreed over eviction drive they want adequate compensation to the affected families. However, no decision has been taken at the meeting about extending any compensation to the evicted families.

A senior Forward Bloc leader and also the Mekhliganj MLA, Mr Paresh Adhikary said the town was in danger as the Teesta was approaching towards the town. Several thousands of people reside in Mekhliganj town and it is necessary to take steps to save them. For this reason the eviction plan was adopted and all the parties agreed to it. Rehabilitation and compensation issues may be considered later, he said.

A Congress leader Mr Maya Sankar Singha said they demanded Rs 6,000 as compensation per evicted family.

Mentionworthy, the Teesta is flowing along the Mekhliganj town. A few decades ago an embankment was erected to save the town from the river but it was not regularly maintained and renovated. Now, the condition of the embankment is poor. The problem turned worse as a few hundred families started residing along the embankment. Recently, considering the weak condition of the town saving dyke the irrigation division officials have decided to initiate repairing of the embankment. Following that development the sub-divisional administration had convened an all-party meeting.

In Cooch Behar, the condition of the old dyke along Torsa that is engaged in saving the town is also precarious. On Wednesday afternoon the river water started seeping into the town causing panic among the citizens. On behalf of 'Concern for Cooch Behar' Mr Amal Deb demanded measures to save the town by renovating the dyke. He demanded the district administration to follow the footsteps of Mekhliganj to adopt required measures to save the town from the swelling Torsa. 

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