Bengal ministers get shooed away | india | Hindustan Times
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Bengal ministers get shooed away

The West Bengal government began air-dropping relief in the flood-affected Hooghly district, but the misdirected relief triggered great anger among the marooned people who took it out on two ministers who had gone to assess the situation, reports Snigdhendu Bhattacharya.

india Updated: Sep 11, 2009 01:51 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya

The West Bengal government began air-dropping relief in the flood-affected Hooghly district, but the misdirected relief triggered great anger among the marooned people who took it out on two ministers who had gone to assess the situation.

Angry that relief material had not reached them even after being hit by flood for the last three days, residents of Tarakeswar, about 40 km from Kolkata, gheraoed and heckled state Civil Defense Minister Srikumar Mukherjee, 55, and Disaster Management Minister Mortaza Hossain, 53, forcing them to cut short their tour.

“They dropped food from the air but none of the packets reached us. They all landed in the waters,” said 30-year old Asim Barik, a flood victim at Kanraria village, about 45 km from Kolkata.

Some food materials, thus, became unfit for consumption. “Some of this food can only be fed to our cattle,” said Chandranath Konar, a 45-year old villager marooned with his family of four.

There were reports of several houses in the predominantly rural area collapsing, rendering several hundred more people homeless.

“But the situation is improving. The water level is coming down. The primary need is to conduct relief operation and provide medical aid,” Mukherjee told reporters.

“We will ensure that air dropping is done with more accuracy,” he added.

Death toll reaches 6

With three more deaths reported on Wednesday, the toll due to floods in West Bengal has risen to six.

Five districts have been affected by the flood caused by heavy rains and release of over three lakh cusecs from the DVC reservoirs till Tuesday last. Situation is deteriorating in Howrah and Hooghly districts.