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Incessant rains, waterlogging numb Kolkata

Commuters wade through a waterlogged street following heavy rains in Kolkata on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Normal life was thrown out of gear in and around Kolkata on Monday when these places woke up to waterlogged roads and non-stop downpour continuing from the small hours of Sunday.

The Met department, which attributed the sudden change in weather to a cyclonic circulation over northwest Bay of Bengal, predicted heavy to very heavy rain — seven to 20 cm — in some places over Kolkata, and the districts of North and South 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Nadia. This is the highest rainfall the region is experiencing on a single day since 2007.

An orange alert has been issued for these places for Monday. The department warned possible rise in water level of rivers and damage to standing vegetable crops. “Yesterday’s cyclonic circulation over northwest Bay of Bengal and adjoining areas of north Odisha-West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts now lies over Gangetic West Bengal and neighbourhood and now extends up to 5.8 km above mean sea level,” it said in a special bulletin.

Kolkata woke up to a waterlogging it is not accustomed to. People in low-lying areas had water entering their homes. It was mainly delivery agents who went about their work as usual. On neighbourhood WhatsApp groups, residents complained of their troubles and sought help. Many raised concerns about the safety of stray animals.

“I had to cancel my morning walk. I couldn’t go to the market to get vegetables, but all this doesn’t matter to me at all. My heart literally wept at the thought of the pavement dwellers whom I saw last night when I was coming back from Sealdah station after dropping off my son. They had no idea about the impending doom and were listlessly arranging their beddings for what felt like an otherwise ordinary night ahead,” said school teacher Nina Mukherjee, a resident of Howrah.

Technocrat-turned-entrepreneur Indranil Aich, a resident of FE Block in Salt Lake City, said: “It is heart-breaking to see the have-nots out to earn their livelihood in such weather. The sharp increase in impermeable surface in Kolkata, including Salt Lake City, has led to a decrease in rainfall infiltration. Uncontrolled use of plastic and unstructured disposal of non-biodegradable waste is only adding to the injury. The people are to blame.”

Saibal Mukherjee, who lives in Golf Gardens and runs a café called Bike and Blend there, said: “Rains this year have been synonymous with damage, loss and misery. Misery applies most to my pets who have been trained to respond to nature’s call outside the flat in the open. With so much of water around, they are confused what to respond to — their training or nature’s call. I had to cancel orders on Swiggy and Zomato as my café, including the kitchen, is under knee-deep water.”


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:46:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/incessant-rains-waterlogging-numb-kolkata/article36566496.ece

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