Mamata Banerjee says Atrai river drying up due to construction of dam in Bangladesh, accuses Centre of taking matter lightly

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Kolkata: The River Atrai is drying up because of dams’ construction in Bangladesh, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told the West Bengal State Assembly on Tuesday, adding that New Delhi is not seriously taking up the issue with Dhaka.

 Mamata Banerjee says Atrai river drying up due to construction of dam in Bangladesh, accuses Centre of taking matter lightly

File image of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. PTI

“Because of the dam, people of South Dinajpur district are suffering. Everything from the state has been sent to the Centre but the Centre is watching the matter and taking it lightly,” Banerjee informed the House in response to Opposition’s question over the issue.

The Atrai River, which even finds a mention in the Mahabharata, flows from Siliguri into Bangladesh before flowing back into South Dinajpur district of West Bengal. The nearly 400 kilometres long river is a source of livelihood to thousands of fishermen and farmers, who use its water for irrigation.

In recent years, its flow has got severely affected by barrages and river-controlling structures in Bangladesh. Locals allege that after Bangladesh constructed a dam a few years ago, the riverbed had started to dry in summers. “I have spoken to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue,” Mamata informed the State Assembly.

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