New Delhi: The flood situation in south Bengal continued to remain grim with water just marginally receding from some of the inundated areas, an official said. In the northern part of the state, three rivers in Malda district - Ganga, Fulhar and Mahananda - are in spate following heavy rain in the catchment areas, he said. At least 23 people died in the flood and millions have been rendered homeless in the state.
The Army and NDRF personnel distributed food, medicines and other relief materials in the flood-hit areas of Hooghly, according to the official. Several districts in south Bengal, including Hooghly, Purba Medinipur, Howrah, South 24 Parganas - have been reeling under flood woes following heavy rain and discharge of water from Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dams. The DVC, which has been blamed by the Mamata Banerjee government for the crisis in the southern districts, said in a statement that it released 29,000 cusec water which caused the flood.
"There is no report of any new casualty. We are trying hard to ensure that there is adequate supply of food, medicines and clothes for people at the relief camps. Water level has just marginally receded in some areas and the situation is expected to improve if there is no fresh rainfall now. Also, once the DVC stops discharging water, water will retreat from the flood-affected areas," the official said.
Hooghly district magistrate P Deepap Priya said that a large number of villagers have taken shelter at relief camps as their homes and fields lay inundated. The district administration has distributed drinking water pouches, dry food, medicine and ORS to the affected people, Priya said. Most places in Khanakul, one of the worst-affected areas, are facing power outages, the DM said.
Helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) had earlier rescued 31 people from Khanakul as Army personnel carried out relief and rescue operations during the last weekend. "An infantry column consisting of approximately 45 jawans is involved in the relief and rescue operations in the affected areas of Hooghly," a defence spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Pranab Kumar Samanta, executive architect, Malda Irrigation division, said water from river Ganga has already breached the banks and entered low-lying areas in various places, including Parlalpur, Koshighat and Kesharpur. River Ganga had crossed the danger-level at Manikchak Ghat point in Maldat, he said. At least 600 families in Manikchak have already been shifted to safer places, Samanta added.
PM assures all assistance
Meanwhile, Mamata complained to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the DVC allegedly released water from its dams in an unplanned manner, thus causing a “man-made” flood situation in the state, a senior state government official said. The prime minister telephoned Mamata to take stock of the flood situation in the state and assured the chief minister of all central assistance to mitigate it, the bureaucrat said. The chief minister, who was visiting flood-hit Udaynarayanpur in Howrah district, was learned to have told the prime minister that her administration will send a report to the PMO on the flood situation and damages caused by the deluge after completing the survey, the official said.