MP Raju Bista writes to Jal Shakti Minister explaining the need for Water Management in Darjeeling

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Response - Jal Shakti Ministry

MP Raju Bista writes to Jal Shakti Minister explaining the need for Water Management in Darjeeling

On July 2 2019, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista had written to the Union Minister for Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat ji. Congratulating the Hon’ble Minister from the people of Darjeeling LS constituency MP Bista had said, “On behalf of the people of Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency, I congratulate you on your consecutive win to the Lok Sabha, and also for assuming the office of Jal Shakti Minister.” MP Bista had then gone onto highlighted the following issues:

  • Districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong attract the most number of tourists in the Eastern Himalayas.
  • This has resulted in a massive growth of population and unplanned development in the region.
  • As a consequence, traditional water springs have dried out and our groundwater reserves have depleted to unsustainable levels.
  • Multiple dams along river Teesta and its tributaries have caused the destruction of our river systems, and today our region is sitting on the brink of a disaster.
  • The towns of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik and Siliguri – along with the entire blocks of Matigara and Phansidewa are today reeling under acute water shortage, and timely steps are therefore necessary to rectify the situation.

In this regard, the MP had requested the Hon’ble Minister to:

  • Develop a comprehensive water management plan for the region – A holistic water resources management plan, which will take into account – rejuvenation of existing traditional water springs, river systems and charging of groundwater, in addition to developing proper infrastructure for collection and distribution of water resources in needed, so that the people in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kurseong, Mirik and Siliguri, Matigara, Phansidewa and Chopra won’t have to face an uncertain future.
  • Develop Mahananda River Front in Siliguri Town – Mahananda River needs to be rejuvenated along the lines of Namami Gange project, and the Mahananda waterfront in Siliguri city needs to be developed along the lines of Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad – so that it can beautify Siliguri city, and this cultural thread of our region is made stronger.
  • Introduce Drip Irrigation Technology – Introducing drip irrigation technology in the entire region is necessary to minimize water use, and also to promote better farming practices, and increasing productivity of the farms here.

Explaining the demand for a comprehensive water management plan, MP Bista said, “The Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts receive one of the highest rainfalls in India, yet there is an acute shortage of drinking water here. This is because of the lack of proper planning and infrastructure relating to water collection and supply in the region. The time for “random acts of development” – one well here, one water project there, one reservoir here, another there is long past. We need a holistic landscape-level water management plan to be developed so that we can all work towards achieving water sustainability with the same plan and goals in mind.”

Speaking on the demand for the beautification of Riven Mahananda MP Bista said, “River Mahananda is to Siliguri, what Maa Ganga is to Varanasi. This river flows through the heart of Siliguri and people from all walks of life have strong connections to the river – from conducting Chhat Puja to immersing Maa Durga idols after Dashami – River Mahananda is an important cultural fabric of Siliguri city. However, utter neglect of this river during the CPIM and TMC rule has resulted in this once mighty river, to turn into a dirty sludge-filled water body in many parts. I have a vision of seeing Mahananda as the pride of Siliguri, a beautiful tourist attraction that will be seen as an example for other places with rivers in the country, and together we can achieve it.”

River Rejuvanation Mahananda

Regarding the drip irrigation, MP Bista said, ‘Darjeeling is known the world over for its tea, however, along with tea our region also produces Oranges, Cardamom, Ginger, Maize, Potato, Pineapple, Flowers and various other agricultural produce. However, acute shortage of water in the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong has left the farmers here very dependent on the monsoon rain, which has over the years, become highly unpredictable and causing the farmers to reel under grave economic loss. So the introduction of drip irrigation system of farming is of vital importance for water sustainability in the region.’

Acknowledging the wishes sent by the MP, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat ji thanked him for the letter. The Hon’ble Minister also stated that the matter has been forwarded to the Secretary (WR, RD & GR) to taking immediate and appropriate actions.

(3) Comments

3 thoughts on “MP Raju Bista writes to Jal Shakti Minister explaining the need for Water Management in Darjeeling”

  1. Thank you mr. Raju Bista (MP) for your initiation regarding water in Darjeeling It is my contention tthatt here are other thing around for depletion and faulty management. A through study in distribution of springs water and sources of water is necessary involving local stake holder and resident before we take up the key project. Much of the project are lured to larger settlement. These project are normally executed at the cost of depriving fringe population and depleting the water. As being hilly region the sources are dispersed and has pachy location. Itis through comment box I wish not just engineers in targetting physical project rather involving Enviromentalist, Geographer, Forester ans knowlegeable villager be involve fo making the project viable and sustainable as such the project stays on not just for 5 year term. I have more to write but with this it will open up for more deliberation

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