Thursday, September 28, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Flood water enters Calcutta

CALCUTTA, Sept 27 (PTI) — High tides rising up to 6.29 metres (about 20 feet) from the swollen Hooghly river gushed into the metropolis today inundating several localities as the toll in West Bengal floods rose to 561 with 45 fresh deaths prompting Chief Minister Jyoti Basu to term the situation as a “national disaster”.

A total of 423 persons were missing with worst-hit Murshidabad district alone accounting for 400.

The water-level of the Hooghly rose by 6.29 metres at Garden reach following high tides as water entered the 18th-century Kali temple at Kalighat and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence at Harish Chatterjee Street in south Calcutta.

Large areas in Kalighat, Tollygunge and Alipore in the southern part of the city were under knee-deep water since noon as the Tolly nullah overflowed.

Mayor Subrata Mukherjee said the waterlogged Nimtala crematorium in north Calcutta had to be partially shut down in the afternoon.

In other parts of the state, fresh deaths were reported from Murshidabad, Birbhum, Hooghly, Midnapore and North 24 Parganas as Army, IAF and government helicopters airdropped food and medicines in Nadia and North 24 Parganas, official sources said.

Murshidabad district accounted for the highest number of deaths 230 followed by Birbhum 226. Mr Basu said “this is a national disaster”.

In Calcutta, under red alert, about 2,000 persons were asked to shift to safer places as weather office forecast more high tides tomorrow.

Mr Mukherjee said nearly 2000 persons staying in shanties on both sides of the Tolly canal in south Calcutta and Bagjola canal in north Calcutta were told to move to safer places.

The high alert sounded in the metropolis would continue till September 30, he said.

Repair of Chitpur lockgate, which gave way following high tides on Monday, was hampered with a rise in the water level since yesterday. However, work was resumed this afternoon, Deputy Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee said.

Weather office has forecast 6.27 metres high tides in the wee hours tomorrow and 6.38 metres in the afternoon. 

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