Floods in West Bengal: 15 dead, 3 lakh affected; TMC, BJP engage in political slugfest
Kolkata, Aug 03: At least 15 people have died, and lakhs of people were rendered homeless or marooned, as the flood situation in six districts of West Bengal aggravated on Tuesday, triggering a slugfest between the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP over the release of "excess water" by the DVC.
Around three lakh people got displaced after heavy rain in the last few days, followed by discharge of water from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dams, inundated major parts of the districts of Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas, officials said.
The DVC, since July 31, has released 5.43 lakh cusec of water till Tuesday evening. Seven people died and 2.5 lakh have been affected by the flood Till Monday. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who keeps a tab on the relief and rescue operations and has sent ministers to the affected areas, is likely to conduct an aerial survey of Howrah and Hooghly districts on Wednesday to take stock of the situation.
She will later conduct an administrative meeting, officials said. "We are collecting the details of all 15 people who have lost their lives due to the flood. Some deaths are due to electrocution, snake bite, wall collapse. We are waiting for a final report from district administrations," an official said.
Several areas in the six affected districts are reeling under flood, with people struggling to wade through waist-deep water. The districts of Hooghly, Howrah and West Midnapore are among the worst affected due to the floods.
Around 79,000 people were affected in Hooghly district alone, whereas crops and livestock worth lakhs of rupees were destroyed. "Around 345 villages are affected by the floods, and more than 34 thousand hectares of crop area have been damaged. Around 1159 houses have been damaged in the district. We are presently running 89 relief camps," a Hooghly district official said.
The situation was worse in Kolkata's neighbouring Howrah district, where around 1.8 lakh people were affected as 10 gram panchayats were severely affected by the floods.
Over one lakh tarpaulin, 1,000 MT of rice, thousands of drinking water pouches and clean clothes have been sent to the shelters homes, an official stated. On Monday, the Army and the Air Force had undertaken rescue operations in Hooghly district, where rivers have overtopped banks and flooded villages.