Monoranjan Sarkar | UGC Senior Research Fellow, Department of History, University of North Bengal
A number of dams and barrages have been constructed over the Teesta River on its 414 KM. journey to sea from its source in Sikkim. These include two hydro electricity dams in Sikkim; Teesta Barrage at Gajoldoba and Teesta Barrage at Lalmonirhat (Bangladesh). Besides referring the other projects over Teesta River the present paper will attempt to examine the project at Gajoldoba and its effects on environment around the locality of Gajoldoba and northern part of West Bengal. It is to be noted that the Teesta Barrage Project at Gajoldoba is one of the largest irrigation project of eastern India, supplying water to the six district of northern West Bengal and to date only certain sections of the project have been completed. However, the project resulted in the increase of sedimentation and siltation of the river, braiding, and growth of the chars (sandbars) in the river bed, in the lower wave, which have had a significant impact on local flora and fauna, and caused flooding and river bank erosion. It also affected the life of the fish stock and species of birds. As we know that a number of previously common fishes such as Boroli, Chitol, Boal, Maha soal, Shol, Gojar Baghari are no longer available today. Similarly the coming of the birds (White Bird, Red Crested Pochard, Bar Headed, Cormrents, Tufted Duck, Northern Lapwing etc) from the different parts of the world is decreasing due to several causes. Overall in this paper it is observed that the project resulted in terrible pressure on the environment.
Key words: Teesta River, Barrage, local environment, irrigation, biodiversity