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Heavy rains likely in Bengal, Mamata Banerjee expresses concern over possibility of floods

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Kolkata, Aug 24: The Met department on Monday warned of heavy rains in south Bengal districts owing to a fresh low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal, following which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed concern at the possibility of floods and asked officials to be prepared to deal with the emerging situation.

Heavy rains likely in Bengal, Mamata expresses concern over possibility of floods

Speaking to district officials from state secretariat 'Nabanna', Banerjee said already some places have got inundated as embankments have been breached. The chief minister expressed displeasure over the embankment repair work done after cyclone Amphan, which hit the state in May.

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"Those who do these works should do it more seriously; does it mean the repairs were not done properly in a hurry to complete the work?" she said, directing officials to mend the breaches at the earliest. Banerjee said that while there is a forecast for heavy rain in some districts over the next few days, rivers have already crossed the danger-mark in Malda and some other places. She called for proper planning to ensure that hospitals and healthcare centres are not flooded if the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) releases water from its dams in Jharkhand.

Several areas in Howrah and West Midnapore face flood-like situations every year with the release of water from the DVC dams during the monsoon. Several places in Ghatal subdivision of West Midnapore district have been submerged owing to overflowing of the Shilabati river and continuing rain, officials said.

At Minakha in North 24 Parganas, Bidyadhari river breached embankment at a few places, flooding agricultural fields, they said. The Congress MLA of Sujapur, Isha Khan Choudhury, faced protests at Shamsherganj in Murshidabad district with the people affected by a flood-like situation, demanding measures to ensure that embankments are not breached every year. With a wooden bridge connecting parts of Sabang in West Midnapore and Moyna in East Midnapore district going below the rising water of Chandi river, around 10,000 people have been marooned, a senior district official said.

He said that the district administration will urge the state government for the construction of a concrete bridge across the river. Rajya Sabha MP Manas Bhuniya visited the area, which faces floods regularly, to provide assistance to the affected people.

The Met department has issued an 'Orange Warning' owing to the possibility of heavy rain in Gangetic Bengal with very heavy downpour in some places in the next three days as a result of the low-pressure area. The weatherman said that the low-pressure system is likely to intensify in the next couple of days. Heavy rain is likely to occur in the districts of East and West Midnapore, South 24 Parganas, Jhargram, Howrah, Hooghly, Bankura and Birbhum, while thunderstorm with lightning is likely in other places of Gangetic Bengal, the Met said.

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The intensity of the rain is likely to increase in the coastal districts of the state from Tuesday with the low- pressure system becoming more marked, the weatherman said, adding that it is likely to continue till Friday morning. Due to the formation of the low-pressure area over the north Bay of Bengal, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea till August 27.

With several rivers in the region already in spate owing to heavy downpour over the past few days, people living in the coastal districts are apprehensive of flooding of agricultural fields and low-lying areas.

The state Irrigation Department said that it is keeping a watch on the situation. Heavy rains lashed Birbhum district, while other parts of Gangetic Bengal also received showers since Sunday morning, the Met department said. Some low-lying areas in the coastal districts of South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore have also got inundated owing to overflowing of some rivers and breaches in mud embankments, district officials said.

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