KOLKATA: Large parts of southern West Bengal have been inundated due to incessant rains over the last 72 hours and have claimed the lives of three persons and rendered thousands of people homeless.
While breaking of a barrage over Kuye river in Birbhum district resulted in the death of a Satabdi Bajikar, another person, Arnab Chattterjee of Birbhum died by drowning into a well which was under water. The third person died of electrocution in Kolkata when he tried to switch on a fan at his residence after being completely drenched in rains.
The administrations in the western districts of Purba and Paschim Burdwan, Birbhum, Hooghly, Bankura, Purulia, Jhargram and Paschim and Purba Medinipur have been asked to remain on alert and open a few relief centres to provide food and shelter to the victims.
The situation has become grave after all major barrages and dams over Damodar river, also known as 'sorrow of Bengal', opened its flood gates due to heavy rainfall in neighbouring Jharkhand. While Panchet Dam released 18,000 cusecs of water, Maithon Dam released 2,000 cusecs and Galudih barrage released 17,000 cusecs of water.
Though Birbhum district had been the most affected with at least 10 villages going under the water due to the collapse of Kuye barrage, the situation became slight better due to lesser rains in the district on Monday.
However, heavy rainfall in neighbouring Jharkhand could lead to the release of water from Masanjore barrage which could lead to inundation of large parts of the area in the district.
On the other hand, while Chotanagpur plateau region in Jhargram and Bankura districts received heavy rainfall on Monday leading to major rivers Shilabati, Kangsabati and Dwarakeswar flowing above the danger levels, low-lying areas in the border of Paschim Medinipur and Hooghly districts have been cut-off leading to deployment of boats in Keshpur, Ghatal, Daspur, Khirpai and Arambag areas of the two districts. Fishermen in coastal areas of the state in Purba Medinipur district have been warned against venturing into the sea over the next 48 hours.
However, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee refused to sound flood alert in the state.
"Some districts are under the water due to heavy rains in the state and neighbouring Jharkhand, but situation is under control. However, if rain continues over the next 24 hours, the situation may become grave," she told media men before leaving for Delhi to attend the swear-in ceremony of President Ram Nath Kovind.
The meteorological department has said that the rains will continue with the same intensity over the next 24 hours.
"Rainfall is not likely to increase. While Bankura registered the highest rainfall yesterday at 227 mm, Lalgarh in Jhargram district received the most rainfall on Monday at 170 mm. The rains are being caused due to depression that is centred over low-lying areas of Gangetic south Bengal and over Jharkhand," MET department director G K Das told New Indian Express.