Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Bengal rains: Death toll 47, 12 districts hit

ArrayKolkata, Aug 1 (IANS) A girl was swept away by water current in west Bengal’s Murshidabad district, while a woman died in a house collapse in Howrah as the flood toll shot up to 47 on Saturday due to heavy overnight rains across the state.

The rains triggered by the cyclone Komen crippled normal life in Kolkata, hitting the train services.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Friday evening put the death count at 39 but relentless widespread rain on Saturday led to at least eight fatalities in the districts.

In Murshidabad’s Andulia, a girl was carried away by a strong current and in Howrah’s Panchla, rains triggered the collapse of a mud house leading to the death of a woman and injuring her husband.

In Nadia, four deaths were reported by district administration officials while West Midnapore witnessed at least two fatalities.

Nearly two lakh houses have been damaged while over a lakh residents are in relief camps due to the incessant-rain triggered flood-like situation in the state, Banerjee said on Saturday.

The nagging rains are due to a deep depression over Bay of Bengal caused by Komen.

“As many as 1.8 lakh houses have been damaged and 12 districts are affected due to the flood-like situation. 966 relief camps are sheltering 1.19 lakh people across the state,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ in Howrah.

Crops spread over 2.10 lakh hectares of farmland were destroyed in the rain-hit districts, she added.

The chief minister took stock of the situation in Howrah’s Udaynarayanpur during the day and asserted her government would aid in relief of the affected people with its own resources as she was not expecting much help from the central government.

Stretches in Burdwan, Birbhum, Hooghly, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts are still submerged, and seven lakh people affected.

In Ghatal in West Midnapore, boats were pressed into service.

Several parts of Kolkata were waterlogged. The Met Office recorded 117.4 mm of rainfall till 8.30 am on Saturday. It has forecast “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in a few places in Gangetic West Bengal (south Bengal) in the next 24 to 48 hours.

While South Eastern Railway (SER) cancelled 19 suburban trains, the Eastern Railway was forced to cancel one. Several trains ran behind schedule.

The SER also rescheduled three Express trains – the 18645 Howrah-Hyderabad East Coast Express, 18615 Howrah-Hatia Kriya Yoga ExpressAand 12860 Howrah-Mumbai Gitanjali Express while 11 EMU local ones were rescheduled to take off from Santragachi instead of Howrah.

Apart from this, three Mail and Express trains – 12828 Purulia-Howrah Express, 12833 Ahmedabad-Howrah Express and 22832 Sri Satya Sai Prashanti Nilayam-Howrah Express were Ashort terminated at Santragachi instead of Howrah.

Altogether 15 Mail and Express trains arrived or departed from Howrah behind schedule.

SER authorities said waterlogging at the vital Howrah junction, Tikiapara and Santragachi railway yards resulted in congestion, delaying the trains.

Slum-dwellers near Kankurgachi and Ultadanga in east Kolkata battled the inclement weather with layers of tarpaulin sheets and plastics woven around their huts but the inundation has left them in dire straits.

Water-logging also forced members of many families residing on the ground floor in duplexes to move up to the upper storeys.

The water level of the Ganga stood at a high of 6.64 m at around 1.41 pm on Saturday during high tide, said a River Traffic Police official, adding heavy rains had added to the swelling.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has pressed into service over 300 pumps from its permanent pumping stations in different parts of the city in addition to 360 more portable pumps to drain out the water.

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