Flood situation grim in parts of north Bengal
Kolkata: The flood situation in parts of northern West Bengal remained "grim" on Friday with many rivers still flowing well above the extreme danger level despite improvement in the overall situation in the region, the state government said.
While the water level of Atrayi and Punarbhaba rivers was falling, giving relief to the inhabitants of North and South Dinajpur districts, water from the overflowing Mahananda river flooded most parts of Malda, inundating at least five blocks in the district.
"The situation in Malda looks grim as the water of Mahananda is rising. Chanchal, Ratua and Harishchandrapur are completely submerged while many other blocks in the district are partially flooded," state Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee told IANS.
He said the situation in Ahad district further worsened due to water released from dams in neighbouring Bihar and Bangladesh.
"The situation in Malda is further deteriorating as Bihar has released plenty of water. Meanwhile, Bangladesh is also releasing water from Padma to Hoogly as its water level was also rising. As a result, the Mahananda looks swollen," he added.
The Minister said 120 temporary relief camps have been built in Malda and 30-35 boats are working round the clock to supply relief materials to the flood victims.
"The team is trying to do their best to help the victims. We are facing issues in supplying the relief materials at some places as the road and rail connectivity continues to be cut off and the only means of transport is the waterway."
The state Irrigation and Waterways Department said that the flood situation is critical but improving in North and South Dinajpur districts as the water level in Atrayi and Punarbhaba is coming down. However, in certain parts including Balurghat and Itahar, both the rivers are still flowing above the extreme danger level.
"The situation in Itahar is critical as low laying areas in the region are getting flooded by the water coming from highlands of north Dinajpur. Many parts of south Dinajpur district's Balurghat town is also submerged," a department official told IANS over phone.
The bus service from north Bengal's Siliguri to Malda has started through a diverted route from Thursday. However, the railway service in north Bengal and northeast India remained suspended as the flood water washed away several railway bridges.
Many trains from Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata railway stations to north Bengal including Uttarbanga Express, Kanchankanya Express, and trains to Assam's Dibrugah have been cancelled.