Durgapur News Desk, 25 November 2017: Lock Gate number 01 of the Durgapur Barrage on River Damodar suffered heavy damage yesterday morning and has become non-functional since then, thereby failing to check the flow of water.
Collapse of the lock gate not only poses a threat of inundating some of low-lying areas of the adjoining districts like Hooghly and Bankura but also is likely to create acute water shortage in Durgapur town.
Officials of the irrigation department, district administration, Durgapur municipal corporation, Asansol Durgapur Development Authority and Durgapur steel plant rushed to the spot. Initial attempt of repair however failed as the overhead crane brought to lift the lock gate don’t had that much of capability.
The lock gate no. 1 which broke under water pressure allegedly because of poor maintenance by DVC authority is of key-importance for the Durgapur town. Heavy rainfall this monsoon and lack of dredging led to an increase in the level of water in the reservoirs; which in turn increased the pressure on the lock gates, causing it to collapse.
992 metre long Durgapur barrage was built on the Damodar river in 1955. It has 34 gates including 2 under-sluice gates. It is a 12 m high barrage.
Water from the barrage is supplied for drinking purpose as well as to the various industries in Durgapur. The feeder canal water level has gone down drastically. Owing to the low level of water pumps are not being able to pump water creating water crisis in Durgapur. “Around 4000 cusec water will be lost” stated an official.
Rajib Banerjee, Minister in charge of irrigation department, Government of West Bengal alleged that lack of proper maintenance during the former Left Front rule prior 2011 is responsible for the poor condition of the Durgapur Barrage and added by saying that since the TMC government came to power in 2011, they are looking after the maintenance issue with due importance.
After a failed attempt yesterday, the DVC authority instructed its Maithan counterpart to stop water release and the Durgapur Barrage authority started creating sand bag embankment to stop water flow, so that work of repair becomes easy.
By 4 pm tomorrow the lock gates will be repaired, said an official statement of the SDO irrigation. A floating gate will be put behind the gate no. 01 and Maithan Dam will be asked to release water tomorrow. The water released from Maithan Dam will then automatically increase the height of the water in the Dam and normally will take 12 hours to make the pumps operational.
Meanwhile a demonstration by members of the Joint Citizen Forum at the DVC’s irrigation department office in Sadhudanga of Durgapur was mercilessly attacked by local goons. The members of the Joint Citizen Forum were attacked when they were returning after sumitting a memorandum to the irrigation official of DVC.