With no rain, flood situation slightly better in North Bengal
Kolkata: The flood situation in six North Bengal districts improved a little on Friday with the water receding following a decrease in rainfall in the past 24 hours. However, a number of rivers still flowed well above the danger level.
The water level at Atreyi and Punarbhaba river in North and South Dinajpur districts fell while the Mahananda river in Malda flooded most parts of the district with five blocks of the district under heavy inundation.
As train services to the districts remained suspended with a railway bridge near Kishangunj collapsing due to heavy inundation a few days back, the state Transport department chipped in to rescue the stranded passengers. As many as 41 buses left Kolkata for the flood-affected districts and the same number left from North Bengal.
"Five buses were operated in the Kolkata-Malda route, 10 from Kolkata to Siliguri, seven from Kolkata to Raigunj, one to Chanchol, five to Malda, one to Farakka and a dozen from Malda to Siliguri. Similarly five buses were operated from Cooch Behar to the city, 10 from Siliguri to Kolkata, seven from Raigunj to Kolkata, one from Chanchal, five from Malda, one from Farakka while a dozen ran between Siliguri and Malda," a top North Bengal State Transport Corporation official said. In the evening, four Royal Cruiser buses and two Greenline buses from Kolkata to Siliguri were also operated. Bus services had started from Thursday through a diverted route.
According to sources in the Disaster Management department, nearly 15 lakh people have been affected by the flood and 49 lives have been lost at Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda since July 21. As many as 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 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 river looks swollen," state Irrigation minister Rajib Banerjee said.
The state government arranged for adequate relief materials in the form of dry food, cooked food, water pouches and medicines. "Medical officers are conducting regular check-ups to prevent the outbreak of any water-borne diseases," an official in the Disaster Management department said.
An official in the state Panchayat department said that roads and pipelines for supplying drinking water have been badly damaged.