North Bengal districts remain cut off as heavy rain and fuming rivers flood towns, railway tracks, highways
Seven districts in north Bengal were cut off from the rest of the country as roads and railway tracks got inundated following heavy rain in Bengal, Bihar and Assam that worsened the flood situation in the region over the last 48 hours. The Mamata Banerjee government alerted all departments as weather office predicted more rainfall.
Eastern Railway cancelled trains to north Bengal and the North-East. West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) cancelled buses bound for Darjeeling, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Malda and Murshidabad districts. The authorities said it was virtually impossible to ply trains and buses beyond Birbhum district without endangering the lives of passengers. Bus services between Falakata and Alipurduar was suspended after a culvert on the road that connects these towns collapsed.
Rivers in Cooch Behar and Murshidabad were flowing well above the danger level since Sunday. Officials said three lakh people were marooned in these two districts.
Eastern Railway officials could not predict when services would resume. “The tracks will be inspected once water recedes. After that we will be able to say whether trains can be run safely,” said an Eastern Railway official.
“Tracks are under water at several places in Katihar and Alipurduar divisions of the Northeast Frontier Railway in Bihar and Bengal. Tracks were damaged at as many as 12 locations. Seven of these were repaired and services restored,” said Pranav Jyoti Sharma, chief public relations officer, N F Railway.
Flood in Kaljani and Teesta rivers affected life in Jalpaiguri, Alipurdura and the plains in Darjeeling district. The situation got worse after water was released from the Teesta barrage. The fuming river has started eroding its banks, officials said.
Officers and staff of the state irrigation and disaster management departments have been kept on high alert. They cannot go on leave till the situation improves. A 24- hour control room was opened at Nabanna, the state secretariat, on Saturday.
Railway connection between Bengal and the North-East was severely hit on Saturday night when tracks were inundated near Dalkhola, Barsoi and Sudhani stations. The main track connecting North-East India to the rest of the country was closed with water under a bridge near Kishanganj station in Bihar flowing above the danger level.