West Bengal flood toll 39

Kolkata, July 31 (IANS) The death count in West Bengal floods has gone up to 39, with many areas in six districts inundated, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Friday, even as the met department predicted heavy to very heavy rainfalls in parts of the state over the next 48 hours.

However, bringing some relief, cyclone ‘Komen’ weakened into a deep depression, triggering moderate rainfall of 21.3 mms since Thursday night in the city and surrounding areas.

“Thirty people have died so far in the flood situation due to various reasons like electrocution and snake bites,” Banerjee told the media after reviewing the situation at a meeting with the state disaster management committee. Ministers and officials of various departments attended the deliberations.

The chief minister said stretches in Burdwan, Birbhum, Hooghly, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas districts were submerged.

She said relief camps have been opened and requested social welfare groups and clubs to come forward to help the victims.

“We have decided to give ex-gratia payment of Rs.4 lakh to families of those have lost their lives due to floods,” she announced.

The chief minister assigned ministers the charge of overseeing relief operations in specific districts, and said the state government would conduct a survey about the damages caused to crops and farmlands.

She appealed to the centre to repair the national highways and said the state PWD would take care of the state highways.

Banerjee said the state has received excess rainfall this year, over and above the normal, while the high tides aggravated the situation.

Ruing that no one can control natural calamities, she said her administration was taking all precautions in the wake of fresh prediction of heavy rainfall in the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department said ‘Komen’ over northeast Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards, weakening into a deep depression and lay centred at 5.30 a.m. Friday over Bangladesh, about 85 km east-southeast of Jessore (Bangladesh).

It would move west-northwest-wards and weaken in a depression during next 24 hours, the IMD update said.

“Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at a few places with isolated extremely heavy falls over Gangetic West Bengal and north Odisha. Heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal,” the IMD said.

The Gangetic delta comprises Murshidabad district, Nadia, Kolkata, Hooghly, and Howrah and the northern part of North and South 24 Parganas.

The Met department also warned sea conditions would be “rough to very rough” over north Bay of Bengal.

“Wind speed reaching 45 to 55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off West Bengal. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea along and off West Bengal and north Odisha coasts. Squally winds speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph would prevail over Gangetic West Bengal and Mizoram and Tripura,” it said.

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