Controversy surrounding around Masanjore reservoir is the recent one of the long tradition of tussle the boarding area has been witnessing, feel locals.
Moreover what they also feel behind is the new grown and heightening political hostility between the BJP ruled Jharkhand and TMC governed West Bengal.
It is learnt that before Minister for Welfare, Women and Child Development louis Marandi on Sunday threatened those who would speak against the rights Jharkhand has over the multi-purpose project over Mayurakshi River, there were continuing ‘invasions’ from the neighbouring State.
“BJP workers had placed party flags in several villages of Dumka bordering West Bengal as their regular activity. Some days ago the West Bengal police came and forcibly removed the flags and posters.
They often do things like that. Earlier the West Bengal Government had directed hospitals of their side to seek Aadhaar card of the patients which was an obvious attempt to identify people crossing over there for treatment to Bardwan, Murshidabad,” Sapan, a local journalist, said.
When contacted the district officials refused to come on record but admitted about highhandedness from the State ruled by Mamta Banerjee, especially in managing affairs of the controversial dam for which an agreement was inked between erstwhile Governments of Bihar and West Bengal way back in 1951.
“They have been authoritatively citing the inter-State agreement reached about 70 years ago. All the benefits of the dam are flowing down to West Bengal starting from irrigation water to power whereas people of Jharkhand are bearing most of the brunt. Over 150 villages had to be relocated but people are yet to be resettled. No facility to the displaced about jobs, power, water etc as committed by the Bengal Government is being given after so many years,” said a BDO.
The Minister challenging the other Government to make the agreement public has certain rational behind since talks are rife that tenure of the agreement, 50 years, has already surpassed.
“I came across to the fact that as per the agreement West Bengal Government can have control over the dam for 50 years only. But they are reluctant in making the said deal public.
I thus have challenged to make it public. Recently they removed signage put in place by PWD after building roads there.
They have also removed Jharkhand Government’s logo and repainted the dam with the colour synonymous to the TMC,” said louis Marandi.
Moreover a senior official of the Water Resources Department nodded to the fact that the dispute should be resolved in consultation with the Center.
“The Center can only intervene in such inter-State water sharing disputes when it is clear that both the parties cannot resolve it amicably.
If the life of agreement is expired then we can stake claims over equal rights of the dam and its benefits otherwise we have to bear with it,” said the official.
Facts apart, the issue is not going to die down soon at least in the surcharged political atmosphere and animosity involving the political parties which is equally sentimental for the locals, whom the politicians claim to represent and need their votes.