New Delhi [India], June 13 (ANI): Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to declare river bank erosion as a "national disaster" and to release adequate fund to tackle the issue in Murshidabad and Malda districts of West Bengal in order to protect the life and livelihood of the affected people.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Chowdhury stated that river bank erosion is widespread throughout the course of the Ganges in West Bengal.
He mentioned that after flowing through Malda district, river Ganga enters Murshidabad district, where it splits into two river channels - the Bhagirathi flows south through West Bengal and the Padma flows east into Bangladesh.
Chowdhury stated that erosion has been wreaking havoc for the districts of Murshidabad and Malda as a consequence of which the geographical expression of the districts has been changing."Very large chunk of fertile land has been completely wiped out and lakhs of people have been rendered homeless," he said.
He further said that the river passes through a 94-km long stretch from Farakka Barrage to Jalangi in Murshidabad and "every year destroys the lives and livelihood of the people residing in that belt rendering them landless and losing their livelihood".
Pointing out that sometimes, poverty leads to increase in crimes and creates neo-refugees and with many social problems, he stated that people seriously affected by river bank erosion in Malda have migrated in search of work to as far as Gujarat and Maharashtra, adding that at Byculla, Mumbai, there is a whole colony of erosion affected people of Malda, where they are often branded as "Bangladeshi infiltrators", as they have lost not only their belongings but also their documents in the erosion. Such is the tragedy of these neo-refugees in their own country, he added.
"The erosion wiped away boundary posts at many places creating border disputes. In Parliament, when this issue was raised the House was assured that the boundary was fixed on the map even though the river had shifted," said Chowdhury in his letter.
Urging the Prime Minister to treat the issue of river bank erosion as a national disaster, the Congress leader stated that the issue can be resolved only with the combined efforts of both the Central and the State Governments.
Further mentioning that a large fund was sanctioned to tackle the issue of river bank erosion during the UPA regime, Chowdhury requested PM Modi to release adequate funds to check the issue and protect the life and livelihood of the affected people. (ANI)