Kolkata: Inadequacy of relief measures are plaguing four flood affected districts of West Bengal—Howrah, Hooghly, West Medinipur, and Burdwan—as Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) continues to release water following heavy rainfall in the catchment areas. There are protests breaking out in areas under affected and leaders of the ruling party, Trinamool Congress (TMC), are facing the anger of the flood locals. In many places, even the most basic relief materials, like tarpaulin, puffed rice and molasses are unavailable. People have taken shelter in high buildings and above the roof of the permanent pucca houses.
In West Medinipur, the villages of Ghatal, Daspur, Chandrakona, and Keshpur have been inundated with flood water, and TMC leaders, who visited the area on a government boat had to see brooms as a mark of protest from the locals. Sensing the people's anger, West Bengal's Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who was touring the flood affected areas, cut short his visit . In Ghatal, the SDO office and the local police station have been flooded.
In Khanakul and Udaynarayanpur, Indian Airforce choppers are being used for relief and rescue measures. So far, about 15 people have died because of the floods in the four districts of the state.
Though the areas have not received new rainfall in the past five days, the barrage water running in at Burdwan district's Kalna subdivision has flooded over 2,500 hectares of arable land. In Manteswar block's flooded villages of Ashuri and Khordda Isna, activists from Left parties spoke with the affected villagers, who shared that the barrage water has flooded their arable lands where paddy had already been sown in the, and more than 1,200 bighas of land are under water for the past five days. In 400 bighas of the flooded land, vegetables were being cultivated, while on the rest of the land, Aman, a variety of rice, had been sown. In Khordda Isna, 400 bighas of arable land where vegetables had been sown are now underwater.
In Howrah's Hariharpur, a farmer Bikash Sashmal, told the media that vegetables had been sown by the farmers, and the barrage water has flooded it all. A large part of the income of the poor farmers has drowned in the water.
Another villager, Barin Dore, shared that he had started sowing paddy seeds, which have all been swept away by the barrage water. Jute cultivators are also facing insurmountable losses, as jute had been cut and left in the fields, and has been swept away by the flood water. “Our homes have been flooded, but the government has not offered us any relief," he said . Another farmer, whose eight bighas of paddy fields have been swept flooded, said that the food left at his home will only last his family another one or two days. He added that he does not know how he will feed his family after that.
On Monday, there was a huge rush for food and groceries at the relief centres, as food crises are setting in in the affected villages. Several villages in the Hooghly district have been flooded by the overflowing Rupnarayan river, whose embankments have been breached at several places.
In Daspur block, more than 97% of the mouzas have been flooded, and river embankments have been breached in over 45 places. More than 10,000 kutcha houses have been destroyed by flood water, and many people have taken shelters in tarpaulin tents along highways. In Ghatal, there has been no electricity for almost a week, and more than 600 mouzas have been flooded, CPI(M) leader Rameshwar Dolui told NewsClick. He added it will be at least two months before the flood water recedes completely.