NATURAL DISASTER: Rain & river flood town – One lakh marooned, traffic stalled on NH31 for an hour – yellow alert out ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Islampur, Aug. 24: Incessant rain for 10 hours today waterlogged Islampur town and inundated five gram panchayat areas leaving over a lakh of people marooned.
The water in the Dawk river, flowing 4km away in Bihar, entered town after overflowing a large stretch of NH31. Traffic was stalled for about an hour from 10am to 11am.
Around 20,000 people have been affected in town. They moved to the railway station and other higher grounds after a non-stop, almost blinding shower from 3am to 1pm. Since afternoon, the administration and the municipality started distributing dry food to the affected families. At Matikunda, the block development officer of Islampur, P.K. Parveen, was surrounded by angry villagers complaining that adequate relief failed to reach them.
Islampur municipality chairperson Kanhaialal Agarwal admitted that absence of proper drainage caused the flooding of the town. “Around 20,000 people have been affected. On one side, the town is surrounded by NH31 and the railway station — both on high ground, and on the other by the Teesta,” he said.
With putrid water entering houses, residents were unhappy about the role played by the municipality. “We have never faced such a situation. There is no drainage for the town and the civic officials have been sitting idle,” said teacher Mohammad Suleman, a resident of Melamath.
The subdivisional officer of Islampur, Partha Ghose, said around 80,000 people were marooned in five gram panchayats. The irrigation department had recorded 215mm of rainfall in the 10-hour span.
In Jalpaiguri, secondary (red) alert sounded by the North Bengal Flood Control Commission in the unprotected areas on both banks of the Teesta from Domohoni, on the outskirts of the town, to Bangladesh border is still on. It rained 282.8mm in Sevoke on the upstream of Teesta in the past 24 hours, leading to rise in water levels.
Primary (yellow) alert has also been issued in the protected areas on both banks of the Teesta for the same stretch and on both banks of the Jaldhaka from NH31 near Nagrakata in the Dooars to Mathabhanga in Cooch Behar district.
Regional Met Office issued a warning for a heavy to very heavy rainfall for the next 24 hours because of persistent convective clouds in the sky formed by the strong southwest monsoon, still hovering over the sub-Himalayan Bengal and Sikkim.