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Updated: June 18, 2011 02:34 IST

Heavy rain claims 6 lives in West Bengal

Raktima Bose
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A woman protects her child with an envelop as heavy rains lashed Kolkata on Thursday. Photo: PTI
A woman protects her child with an envelop as heavy rains lashed Kolkata on Thursday. Photo: PTI

Life in Kolkata and many other parts of West Bengal came almost to a standstill on Friday owing to heavy rains that were accompanied by gales.

Six persons were reported to have died in one incident here and two in the districts since Thursday. While a landslip at the Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district killed four members of a family on Thursday, two people were electrocuted at Bishnupur in South 24 Parganas district on Friday.

The squally weather — caused by a depression over the Bay of Bengal that moved inland during the day, lying 50 km north-west of the city — led to water-logging in vast areas, uprooted trees, forced vehicles off the roads and severely affecting suburban rail services.

According to the Alipore Meteorological Department, the south Bengal districts and parts of Jharkhand and Orissa could also receive heavy to very heavy rainfall with squally wind at 55-65 kmph in the next 24 hours.

The city recorded 106.6 mm rainfall from 8:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m.

“The situation could improve from Saturday evening as the depression would weaken by then, and it would move further northwest. The skies, however, will remain cloudy and light showers are expected in the coastal districts of West Bengal and Orissa,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the Alipore Meteorological Department.

Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea in the next 24 hours as the sea would be rough with the wind blowing at 45 to 55 kmph.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall is also expected in the north Bengal districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar in the next 48 hours.

River banks breached in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur districts and the authorities were alerted to evacuate people from nearby villages.

Several low-level areas in the city remained submerged and the situation worsened with the power tripping at two water-pumping stations at Pamar Bazar and Ballygunge. But the supply was restored, and the stations started pumping out water.

Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said 134 mobile teams were deployed in several areas prone to water-logging to coordinate with the pumping stations.

Suburban services in the Eastern Railways' Sealdah Division were badly affected by water-logging on the track and power-tripping. The Metro Railways truncated its services for a couple of hours after a snag.

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