Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government on Saturday issued an alert and opened control rooms in the Secretariat and the districts as rains and squalls lashed several parts of the State. The rains occurred following the formation of a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal.

In the Sundarbans and adjacent areas in the North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts, the rising water level raised the spectre of another Aila-like disaster ahead of the Durga Puja. Irrigation embankments have been damaged in six places.

At the Writer’s Building, Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta told journalists that six districts, including the two 24 Parganas districts, Purba, Paschim Medinipur, Purulia and Bankura, were likely to receive heavy rainfall over the next two days.

People stay in the open

“As per information, the depression was taking a north – northwest route, between Orissa and the sea resort at Digha in West Bengal, at 60 km per hour.”

Incidentally, some of these districts, which bore the brunt of Cyclone Aila on May 25 and many people here still spend the nights out in the open, with only a tarpaulin cover over their heads.

Meteorological Office officials said a deep depression was equivalent to a tropical storm in intensity and comprised a large low pressure formation.

They said the depression in the northwest bay was lying 150 km southwest near Digha in East Midnapore district, and may cross the State’s coast on Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Very heavy rainfall has been predicted in Gangetic West Bengal, Orissa coast and Jharkhand over the next 48 hours, they said.