WEATHER WATCH: Puja washout alert mars festive spirit

WEATHER WATCH: Puja washout alert mars festive spirit – portending more ominous political developments in the year ahead with the re-arrangement of the political map of Bengal ?!!


People assemble on the bank of the Mahananda in Siliguri to perform tarpan under an overcast sky on Thursday. The annual ritual of offering prayers to ancestors on a riverbank takes place on Mahalaya. (Kundan Yolmo) - ominous news at the start of the Pujas ?!!



Siliguri, Oct. 7: A heavy rainfall has been forecast for north Bengal but unlike the south, the showers may not end in 72 hours. Rather, the region might experience a puja washout.

The Met office has warned of heavy rain in Calcutta and south Bengal over the next two-three days. “The Met office has informed us that there may be heavy rainfall accompanied by storm till October 10,” disaster management minister Mortaza Hossain said yesterday.

In the north, the Regional Meteorological Office in Jalpaiguri said a marked low-pressure had been formed in the west central part of the Bay of Bengal and near the adjoining Andhra Pradesh coast which may move to the north and north-eastern parts of the country.

“There is a low pressure depression that has formed in the west central bay and adjoining Andhra Pradesh coast. According to the climatic trend, this depression will intensify while travelling along the coast and reach the north and north-eastern region by the second week of October. It is likely to arrive here by October 12 and bring heavy showers to the region. The rain may continue for a few days after that,” said G.N. Raha, the regional meteorological officer.

Currently, the region is experiencing alternating spells of shower and bright sunshine.

“The normal minimum temperature is 22 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature is 30 degrees Celsius now. The weather is hot because both the maximum and minimum temperatures are hovering about three degrees above the normal,” Raha said.

According to India Meteorological Department sources, isolated areas in the sub-Himalayan region and Sikkim will receive heavy showers in the next 48 hours.

The intermittent showers have already worried puja organisers who are readying their pandals for the four-day festival beginning October 14.

“We are setting up a grand pandal and the theme for this year is Bharat Darshan. There is a lot of work to be completed as we are building monuments modelled on Taj Mahal, Qutab Minar and India Gate. But the work had to be stopped a number of times because of rain in the past few days. If this continues, we will not be able to complete our pandal on time,” said Abhijit Roy, the secretary of the Jatiya Shakti Sangh at Champasari.

“Our pandal attracts huge crowds every year and we are expecting many visitors this time too. But not many will venture out if it rains during the pujas. We are praying for bright and sunny weather,” Roy added.

Pandal hoppers are worried too.

“Visiting pandals will be a problem in the wet weather. Crowded streets combined with the rains will make it more difficult to move around,” Suravi Dey, a resident of Matigara said.

Businessmen are hoping that the weather will not deliver a blow to last minute puja sales.

“Initially, the sales suffered because of bad roads as the people from the adjoining areas were not coming to shops for the pujas. Now when the market started picking up, the sudden showers in the evenings for the past few days are preventing people from visiting the shops,” said Khokan Bhattacharya, the secretary of Seth Srilal Market Byabsayee Samiti. “We hope that it doesn’t rain in the evenings at least for the next few days.”


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