Featured Image: Flooded New Alipurduar rail station, and a wooden bridge washed away in flood at Falakata in Jalpaiguri district.
By A Newsman
Siliguri, 13 August: FLOOD situation in north Bengal continues to be grim for the second continuous day today resulting in the region and the north-east states being cut off by rail from the rest of the country.
According to the state administration, around three lakh people have been affected by the floods and 60 relief camps have been opened for them so far. Teams of the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, and the Sashastra Seema Bal jawans have been pressed in to recuse flood-hit people.
People at Itahar in North Dinajpur blocked National Highway 34 for hours today over the administration’s failure to provide them relief materials. This left hundreds of vehicles plying between Kolkata and north Bengal being stranded.
The worst hit areas in the region are Falakata, Dhupguri, Maynaguri, Alipurduar, Tufanganj, Mathabhanga, Cooch Behar, Chopra, Islampur, Itahar, and Raiganj where houses, markets, and roads have gone under waist-deep water.
Almost all rivers in the region, such as Kulik, Teesta, Torsha, Sankosh, Raidak, Jaldhaka, Korola, and Mahananda, are in spate along with their numerous tributaries that criss-cross north Bengal.
Flood water today washed away a wooden bridge at Falakata in Jalpaiguri district, while several other concrete bridges in Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts are on the verge of collapsing.
Up to knee-deep water is flowing over the National Highway 34 at various places in North Dinajpur and National Highway 31 at multiple locations in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts. Vehicles are still plying on them amid the risk of a calamity.
A two-year-old boy named Sonu Bhagat at College Para in North Dinajpur’s Raiganj died after falling into a canal swelling with flood water. With this, the death toll in the floods since yesterday has gone up to four.
Although it did not rain very heavy during the day today, the Met department has said that chances of extremely heavy rain still looms large over the region until 15 August. The rains in Bhutan and eastern Nepal, which are at higher level than north Bengal, are adding to the fear of the flood situation worsening further.
Six trains, including Darjeeling Mail and Padatik Express, that left Kolkata for north Bengal yesterday night, returned to the city this evening after remaining stranded at various stations in Birbhum district for over 11 hours.
This is because the rail tracks have been flooded in as many as four locations in Bihar and north Bengal that fall along the route. The worst hit is Kishanganj rail station in Bihar, which has gone under waist-deep water, and flood water is flowing above the danger level at a nearby rail bridge.
Tracks have also gone under water at Sudhani (Bihar), Dalkhola and Barsoi on north Bengal side.
Eastern Railway today cancelled all trains to north Bengal and the north-east that were scheduled to depart from Howrah, Sealdah, and Kolkata stations. The train services could be restored on Monday provided, the flood situation does not worsen.
Northeast Frontier Railway today called as many as 20 long-distance trains and short-terminated another 18 trains that were scheduled to ply from north Bengal and northeast to various destinations in the country.
These include the Rajdhani Express from Dibrugarh, Kanchenjugha Express from Guwahati, and Darjeeling Mail from New Jalpaiguri.