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Asansol: A lock-gate of the Durgapur Barrage on Damodar river in West Burdwan district got twisted today morning, resulting in a huge volume of water seeping out of the dam that caters the need for drinking water and irrigation for a vast part of the district.

Despite a joint team of the state irrigation department from Kolkata and those from the Centre’s Damodar Valley Corporation swinging into action around noon, the damaged lock-gate is yet to be repaired till news came in last this evening.

Both the state irrigation minister Rajib Banerjee and Durgapur SDO Sankha Santra have, however, ruled out that the incident will lead to severe scarcity of water either for drinking or irrigation. They have also ruled out the risk of flooding of areas in Burdwan, Bankura, and Hooghly located downstream of Durgapur Barrage.

Durgapur Barrage is located on the outskirts of Durgapur town and stands downstream of Maithon and Panchet dams that are also built on Damodar river. Durgapur Barrage is 39 feet high and 2,270 feet long, and the discharge of water is controlled by 32 lock-gates that function on pull and drop method.

Administrative sources said that the lock-gate no 1 got twisted this morning around 5 am and the gate came out of the channel on the barrage that keeps it in position. As a result, a huge volume of water started seeping through.

It is not clear how the gate got twisted. Unofficial sources claimed that the gate was pulled up yesterday but was not locked properly in the evening. Thus when the fresh flow of water reached today morning from Maithon and Panchet dams that are located upstream, the gate twisted.

Getting to know this, the state irrigation department ensured the closure of the lock-gates of Maithon and Panchet dams. This has resulted in the water level at Durgapur Barrage drop by about 12 feet by the evening.

Engineers are dumping sandbags to erect a temporary dam in front of the damaged lock-gate and divert the flow of water to other gates. This they are doing to be able to repair the damaged gate. Sources said that it will take at least three days to complete the repair and the water level shall have to be kept low for this.

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