Counter affidavit on behalf of West Bengal Mineral Development & Trading Corporation regarding desilting of Subarnarekha river, West Bengal, 16/08/2022
Counter affidavit on behalf of West Bengal Mineral Development & Trading Corporation Ltd & Others dated 16/08/2022. WBMDTCL was set up with the objectives of exploring and extracting various non-coal minerals - rock phosphate, stone aggregates, fire clay, quartz, feldspars, irone ore, silica sand in West Bengal.
The state government has over the years, observed that various rivers of West Bengal have experienced increased sedimentation/siltation in the river catchment of the river itself. Such increased sedimentation is a key challenge specifically near dams and barrages. The Department of Irrigation and Waterways has identified two dredging/de-silting sites on the river Subarnarekha and a joint inspection was carried out on August 29, 2021 by the Department, River Research Institute and Technical Advisor of WBMDTCL.
During the course of such joint inspection, it was detected that both the locations have huge riverbed aggradations which have decreased the capacity of the river to carry water to a great extent. This siltation on the river bed along with reduction of carrying capacity was causing overtopping of embankments and inundations in the adjoining areas. After the joint inspection, the inspecting came to the conclusion that the desposition of sediment has resulted in wideling of the channel, meandering of the river course and bank erosion. Thus, desilting exercise has been recommended.
The report of August 16, 2022 was uploaded to the NGT site on April 1, 2023.