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West Bengal prepares to dredge Teesta riverbed amid flood-like situation

Partially submerged buildings due to overflowing of Teesta river following incessant rains, at Teesta Bazar area in Sikkim on June 20, 2024.

Posted on June 24, 2024

Amid an incessant downpour in Sikkim and north Bengal and the consequent surge in the Teesta river, the State Irrigation Department has been directed to prepare a Direct Project Report (DPR) for the dredging of the riverbed.

According to Irrigation Department officials, dredging the Teesta basin would remedy the breaches in the river spurs — an extended part of the embankment that helps protect vulnerable river banks.

The officials told local media that the high momentum and swollen state of the Teesta since the beginning of the monsoon posed a risk to people residing near the banks, so excess silt in the river should be removed at the earliest.

Following the catastrophic flash floods in Sikkim in October 2023, the Teesta changed its course and deposited excessive silt in the river basin. Authorities suspected that like last year, several river spurs have been broken this year as well by the current surge in the Teesta’s water levels. The Irrigation department was also engaged in the repair of dams damaged by the swollen Teesta, including in Milanpally, Bakali and Changmari. The repairs for the Ghazaldoba dam were initiated on Thursday.

On Thursday, the waters of the Teesta had crossed the danger mark and eroded and submerged major parts of National Highway 10, a critical roadway that connects Sikkim to the plains in north Bengal. The local administration also detected multiple cracks along the side of the highway and took steps to ensure vehicles did not ply over the damaged areas.

Meanwhile, flood-like situations along the banks of the Teesta, especially in Melli, Teesta Bazar and 28th Mile in Kalimpong, have alarmed locals and authorities alike. Authorities had earlier evacuated multiple homes along the currently submerged banks of the Teesta and relocated residents to safer areas. Additionally, traffic plying between Sikkim and places in north Bengal like Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Siliguri were also affected due to the recent landslides in Sikkim as well as diversions due to damages caused by the Teesta.


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