Wednesday, September 20, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Floods play havoc in West Bengal
Rail links snapped, Army out

CALCUTTA, Sept 19 (PTI, UNI) — Flash floods triggered by heavy rain claimed 10 lives and affected nearly nine lakh persons in three West Bengal districts with the Army and para-military forces swinging into action for rescue and relief work as rail links between Calcutta and Assam snapped.

Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee told newsmen at the state secretariat that seven persons died in Birbhum district.

Three more deaths occurred in Bardhaman district, according to District Magistrate, Swami Singh. The three victims, including a child, died following incidents of wall collapse.

Two Army columns had started moving from Panagarh in Bardhaman to other flood-hit districts, Bhattacharjee said.

Official sources said more than nine lakh persons were affected and 50,000 others rescued in Murshidabad and nearly two lakh each hit in Bardhamnan and Murshidabad districts.

The sources said two senior ministers, Finance Minister Ashim Kumar Dasgupta and Panchayat Minister Surya Kanta Mishra, were stranded in Maldah following dislocation of train services.

Vast areas of Rampurhat in Birbhum, Kandi in Murshidabad and Katwa in Burdwan districts had been submerged by the surging waters of the Brahmoni, Ajay, Dwarka, Mayurakshi and Bhagirathi rivers.

Three persons were washed away by the surging waters of the Brahmoni in Rampurhat subdivision of Birbhum district, one of the worst-hit areas of the state. The Teesta-Torsa express of Eastern Railway was also stranded between Swadhinpur and Nalhati in the district completely disrupting services between here and north Bengal and neighbouring Assam.

Eastern Railway’s Chief Operating Manager P.K. Chatterjee said it might take another day to restore movement of long-distance trains to the northern districts and Assam. However, the running of suburban trains was by and large normal except in the southern section in the Sealdah division and Lalgola areas of Murshidabad district.

Twelve mail and express trains were cancelled today and nine important long-distance ones brought back to either Howrah or Sealdah following heavy rain in the northern and southern districts of the state. Release of water from some dams added to passengers woes.

Railway General Manager I.I.M.S. Rana monitored the rescue operations of the stranded 3141-Up Teesta-Torsa express between Swadhinpur and Nalhati junction in Birbhum district early today. 

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