Kolkata: To assist the Bengal government in understanding the river basin system of two rivers — Dasha and Matla — so effective measures can be taken to curb the prevailing problems, a Dutch team known for its expertise in river management paid a two-day visit to the Sunderbans, ahead of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS).
Senior officials of the Irrigation and Waterways department led by its principal secretary Prabhat Kumar Mishra accompanied the Netherlands team during their visit.
The Dutch team that visited Sunderbans is a part of the delegation which will be attending the BGBS on November 21 and 22.
The Dasha River is posing erosional hazards while Matla, a wide river, is badly affected by siltation issues.
“We need to have a proper understanding of the basin system of both the rivers so that we can take well-planned measures for addressing the problems. The random intervention will be an exercise in futility,” a senior official of the Irrigation and Waterways department said.
On Sunday, the team examined the erosion aspect of Dasha while on Monday they delved into the siltation issue of Matla.
The River Research Institute (RRI) at Kalyani, under the aegis of the Irrigation department that works in the area of suggesting measures to control issues related to river flow, will be working in tandem with the Dutch experts. The director of RRI was also present during the visit.
A Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Netherlands government was signed in the sixth edition of the BGBS in April 2022 for technical cooperation in the field of integrated delta management and development of the Indian Sundarbans.
The five-year project (2022-2027) with Netherlands involves exploration, design finalisation and accordingly scaling up phase so that nature-based solutions can be adopted to prevent saline water from flowing into agricultural land. Plans for rainwater harvesting, leading to the sustainable development of the Sundarbans archipelago are also being considered.
During this period of around 18 months since the signing of the LOI, consultants from the Netherlands have visited Sunderbans several times. Based on their advice a pilot project regarding the construction of an embankment for flood mitigation was taken up at Patibunia near Mousuni Islands and another at Gopiballavpur near Patharpratima.