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Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in state

Kolkata: Eight persons were killed and 16 others were injured, four of them seriously, after being struck by lightning in the state which experienced torrential rain accompanied by squall on Friday afternoon.

Along with the city, South and North 24-Parganas received heavy rainfall as well. The Alipore Meteorological Office has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in Kolkata and its neighbouring areas in the next 48 hours.

The injured were taken to SSKM Hospital where one Subir Pal was declared brought dead, while 16 others were admitted. The condition of four persons is serious, the hospital sources said. Pal had come with his wife and son to visit Victoria Memorial, when the tragedy took place. His wife and son have been admitted to the hospital. Another woman, identified as Aparna Mondal (52), died after lightning struck her while she was working in her garden in Bansdroni. She was declared brought dead at M R Bangur Hospital.

Sujit Bose, Minister of State for Fire and Emergency Services, went to SSKM Hospital, talked to the doctors and inquired about the condition of the injured persons.

While two were killed in the city, six died in the districts. Three members of a family were killed by lightning at Raghunathpur in Bankura. The deceased were identified as Bina Bauri, her husband Abhijit and brother in-law Sanjay. The victims were working in the field when the incident took place.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) recorded 81mm rain in Behala Flying Club till 5pm. During the same period, Mominpur, Ballygunge, Palmar Bazaar, Chetla and Kalighat recorded 75mm, 83mm, 61mm, 56mm and 56.8mm rainfall respectively.

The rainfall recorded in Thanthania, Ultadanga, Dhapa, Manicktala and Dutta Bagan pumping stations was 22mm, 29mm, 35mm, 19mm and 22mm respectively, during that period. The rainfall recorded by KMC shows that South Kolkata has received heavier rainfall than Central and North Kolkata.

Mayor Firhad Hakim said the intensity of rain was so heavy that there was waterlogging in some of the important roads. All the pumps are functioning to clear the accumulated water and portable pumps have also been pressed into service. A special control room has been opened in KMC, where Hakim and other senior civic officials are overseeing the exercise to clear the accumulated water. Waterlogging was reported from Shilpara and its neighbourhood in Behala, vast areas in Bhowanipore and Kalighat, stretches on Asutosh Mukherjee Road and Park Street in South Kolkata. Stretches on Chittaranjan Avenue, areas surrounding Dharmatala and Thanthania Kalibari were under water as well. Because of waterlogging the traffic movement crawled to a very slow pace, which led to massive traffic jams in both South and North Kolkata, causing severe inconvenience to commuters.

Vast areas in Sector V, the state's IT hub, were inundated following the heavy downpour. The commuters waded through the waterlogged roads to reach home. Sinjini Guha, who works at an IT firm, said: "Because of rain the app cabs became infrequent and the auto-rickshaw services were withdrawn. It was really a trying time for the home-bound commuters," she said.

Akash Basu, a resident of Khardah who studies in a private engineering college, said: "Reaching home was difficult as no transport was available."

The flight movement at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport was also hit due to the rain. Six flights could not take off due to the heavy rain. However, they left for their destination after the rain subsided.

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