Two killed, 4 missing as heavy rains lash West Bengal
Two labourers were killed, at least two others injured, and another four were missing after being swept by the Mamkhola, a rivulet in the Kalimpong hills of north Bengal, as the water level rose due to heavy overnight rains.
Sikkim was cut off from the rest of the country as landslides hit multiple parts of National Highway 10, the arterial road connecting the Himalayan state with rest of India.
The Eastern and South-Eastern Railway had to cancel multiple trains, including Poorva Express, Lal Kuan Express and Howrah Bhagalpur Express, while many trains connecting Howrah with Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneshwar, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Mysuru had to be either rescheduled or terminated.
“The well-marked low pressure, which triggered the rains, was located over interior Gangetic Bengal and its neighbourhood. It is likely to move in the northwest direction across Jharkhand and southern parts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh during the next 48 hours,” said a senior official of India Meteorological Department’s regional weather forecasting centre (RWFC) in Kolkata.
Several areas in south Bengal and in the coastal districts received extremely heavy rain. Panskura in East Midnapore received around 250mm rain in the last 24 hours followed by Uluberia in Howrah and Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas which received around 220 mm rain each. Kolkata received 150 mm rain, according to RWFC data.
The hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong received around 110 to 180 mm of rain resulting in rise in river levels and landslides at multiple places.
“There was a camp of labourers, who were working on the Sevoke-Rungpo rail project at Mamkhola near Rungpo. Early Friday morning, due to intense rainfall and fall of boulders, the rivulet near the camp got swelled and eight persons in the camp got washed away,” said Hari Krishna Pai, superintendent of police, Kalimpong.
At Howrah and New Town where large areas were inundated due to heavy to very heavy rain, boats had to be deployed to rescue people. Large areas in East Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly were likely to get inundated as the Damodar Valley Corporation was released more water from the barrages in Maithon and Panchet.
The sky over Kolkata, however, started clearing up later in the day as the low pressure moved towards the western parts of the state and adjoining Jharkhand. Even though several roads in Kolkata had knee-deep water, the water level started receding as the rains ceased.
“We are monitoring the situation. The situation is under control,” said Soumen Mahapatra, state irrigation minister.