The number one lock gate of the Durgapur Barrage in the West Bardhaman district of West Bengal suffered heavy damage and has become nonfunctional thereby failing to check the flow of water.
Lack of maintenance and repairs is to blame for this state locals. At around 5 am employees who man the lock gates noticed that the metal lock gate was bent and that water was flowing out unchecked. Immediately the authorities were sounded off.
As the replacement of the gate is time-consuming and as the water is flowing out unchecked there is fear of acute water shortage in Durgapur.
Water from the barrage is supplied for drinking purpose as well as to the various industries in Durgapur.
"The feeder canal water level has gone down drastically. Owing to the low level of water pumps are not being able to pump water hence the fear of an acute water crisis in Durgapur. Around 4000 cusec water will be lost" stated an official.
Officials of the irrigation department, district administration, municipal corporation, Asansol Durgapur Development Authority, Durgapur Nagar Nigam and Durgapur steel plant were present at the barrage to oversee repair work and take stock of the situation.
"Repairs are on. There is no reason for immediate worries. As there was heavy rainfall this monsoon the level of water in the reservoirs is high. We are in constant touch with the Executive Engineer of the Irrigation department" stated Sankha Santra, Sub Divisional Officer, Durgapur.
While the fear of an acute water crisis lurks in Durgapur there are fears of a flood like situation in the Manachar area on the banks of the Damodar. Manachar has a 50,000 odd population with an agrarian economy.
"After the devastating floods in the monsoons, we have again sown potatoes, green peas, cabbages and other vegetables. Owing to the problem in the barrage if there is another round of floods we will be totally ruined." stated a farmer.
The Durgapur barrage is built on the Damodar river. It was built in 1955 and is 692m long. It has 34 gates including 2 under-sluice gates. It is a 12 m high barrage.
"Repair work is proceeding on a war footing" stated Rajib Banerjee, Minister in charge of irrigation department, Government of West Bengal.