Kolkata: More than 22 lakh people have been affected by a devastating flood across eight districts in south Bengal. A total of eight columns of army personnel are currently deployed in the affected areas to help the flood victims.
Heavy to very heavy rainfall in the catchment area of Damodar Tarakeshwar and Keleghai river led to the flood. The flood has been partially caused by the massive outflow of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) project in the state that clocked water flow of 1.25 lakh cubic metres per second. In total, 15 people have died so far in the floods.
In 2,500 relief camps all over the state, more than two lakh people have sought shelter, while about four lakh people have been evacuated to safety zones by the army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). Those who have sought refuge in higher areas are yet to receive any relief.
From Panagarh, three columns of army personnel have been deployed in West Burdwan’s Asansol. Additionally, two columns have been deployed in Howrah and three columns in Hoogly district. A total of 32 teams of NDRF and SDRF are in action in the state.
According to witness reports, vast stretches of green fields have all been inundated under floodwater, causing damage to crops. Udaynarayanpur of Howrah district, Arambag of Hoogly district, and Ghatal block of West Medinipore district particularly faced the onslaught of the flood. Only two months earlier, nearly the same areas had faced another round of devastating floods.
In east Burdwan and east Medinipore districts, water from the Ajay and Damodar rivers has worsened the flood situation. As news of inundation of areas surfaced, families left their homes in search of higher pastures in Katugram, Mangalkote and Ausgram. The arterial road from Ausgram to Bhedia is underwater, and bus services on the route have stopped. In Ketugram, the Bisheswar area embankments near the Ajay river has been breached, and multiple villages have been inundated.
People have taken shelter above the Charathi bridge and other high lying areas in the region. Even in Birbhum district, Ajay river has wreaked havoc this time. In Nanoor block, more than 40 villages have been affected; Khoyrashol, Illambazaar, Bolpur and many towns have been flooded. In Howrah district, embankments in the Udaynarayanpur block have been breached in more than ten places. In nearby Amta, the situation has worsened as well. In both Udaynarayanpur and Amta, army columns had to be deployed to tackle the situation. The devastating floods have impacted the neighbouring Ghatal Subdivision of West Medinipore, including Chandrakona, Daspur and many other areas.
In Hoogly’s Arambag, the town is under waist-deep water. In Khankul block, flood water is inundating newer areas as dams have started to release water. The flood situation has also worsened in Goghat, Purshura, Tarakeshwar and Jangipara areas.
In the west Burdwan district, the Railpar area has gone under flood water; the heavily used Kalla Domohoni road in the area has suffered erosion. In Chittaranjan, the Sidhu-Kanhu bridge has been closed for vehicular traffic.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the DVC of causing the flood saying the Asansol area DVC released water without intimation at around 3 O’ clock in the night. The DVC refuted the allegation saying that the state government was intimated at every step before water was released from their reservoirs.