KOLKATA: At least 16 people died while nearly 20 lakh were affected in over 160 villages, which were inundated due to heavy rains and the water released by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) in the state, a senior official said today.
According to the senior official at the state secretariat, 16 people have lost their lives so far in the heavy rains in about 12 districts of the state since Saturday.
"So far 16 persons have died and 20 lakh affected in floods since July 21. As per our reports nearly 165 villages are under water," the official at the state disaster management department said.
Out of the 20 lakh, over four lakh people were affected in the last 24 hours alone, while 2,301 people were evacuated from their houses and 2,02,957 hectare of agricultural land was submerged, the official said.
Around 7,868 houses were entirely destroyed while 44,361 were partially damaged, he said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee along with state Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim, Chief Secretary Malay Dey, Home Secretary Atri Bhattacharya and principal secretary of disaster management department took stock of the situation in inundated areas of Amta and Udaynaryanpur block in Howrah district.
The current flood-like situation was mainly because of the release of water by DVC, Banerjee said.
"They (DVC) are releasing water without informing. The water released takes around three days to reach this place so we are asking the people to be alert. We assure the people that the administration is with them," she said.
Reiterating that she had been asking the Centre to carry out dredging in the reservoirs of DVC dams and barrages so that they could hold more water, Banerjee said that inundation was a problem which the state has been facing almost every year.
"If dredging had been done then another two lakh cusec of water could have been stored and this situation would not have come about," she said, adding she has spoken to the Union Power minister to look into the dredging issue.
Howrah District Magistrate Chaitali Chakraborty said one person died in the flood today and 1.5 lakh people were affected by inundation in the district.
The state government has started supplying dry food and water pouches to relief camps and distributed 6,73,000 tarpaulin sheets to the displaced in the districts, officials said, adding that over 50 relief centres have been also opened in the affected districts.