NATIONAL

Nine killed in south Bengal floods, situation grim

A marooned villager in a flooded locality in Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district on Thursday.PTI Photo

A marooned villager in a flooded locality in Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district on Thursday.PTI Photo  

Nine persons have died in the floods, even as the situation in four districts of south Bengal continued to be grim. New areas were inundated on Thursday.

Seven of the deaths were reported from Paschim Medinipur district alone, according to the Disaster Management Department (DMD).

“About 81,560 people have been sheltered in 260 relief camps set up by the government in the flood-affected areas of the State,” Amit Chowdhury, joint secretary of the DMD, said.

According to him 80 blocks of the State have been affected.

While the State government said unannounced heavy discharge from the reservoirs in Jharkhand and those of the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) was responsible for the situation, the DVC said water was being released only after informing the State administration.

There were also conflicting reports of the amount of discharge during the day. A DVC spokesperson said outflow from its Maithon and Panchet reservoirs was 32,000 cusecs but State officials said the figure was higher.

Crops in over 83,000 hectares have been damaged as also 71,000 kutcha and pucca houses.

Rural Development Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who visited the flood-affected areas in Paschim Medinipur, told The Hindu that there has been marginal improvement in the Dantan area but in other parts the flood waters have not receded. People are taking shelter on highways, schools and relief centres set up by the government,” he said.

Army sealing breach

In adjoining Purba Medinipur, the Army has been deployed to repair the 75-metre embankment on river Kangsabati, where a breach has led to flooding of low-lying areas.

“The flow of water along the breach is fast and sealing it is underway. Troops from the Barrackpore Army Cantonment are working round-the-clock to restore the embankment even as additional columns from Sukhna Cantonment are on their way to the site,” a release of the Defence Ministry said.

“We feel that restoration work carried out by the Army will be completed soon. The flood situation in the district is stable and under control,” Antara Acharya, District Magistrate of Purba Medinipur, said.

Certain new areas in Nandakumar and Tamluk were flooded during the day.

There was flooding in the Udaynarayanpur area of Howrah district and other blocks like Khanakhul and Arambag in Hooghly district.

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