Overflowing canals rush into homes
Free flow through lockgates
Smile, you serve the Boro Laat
Class boycott over hostel closure
Flood of ’78 memory at doorstep
Free flow through broken lockgates
Tripura rebels lynched

 
 
OVERFLOWING CANALS RUSH INTO HOMES 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
The first thought that struck Shyamali Pal, as she stared down the balcony of her house on Rashbehari Avenue on Tuesday morning was: Is it going to be worse than 1978?

A housewife who has been living here for the past 30 years, the sheet of water that covered Rashbehari Avenue, on the Keoratala side, reminded her of the trauma that she and her family had to endure during the deluge 28 years ago.

She knew that the waters of the swollen Hooghly would enter the city, but she had never expected it would reach her home. She rushed to her husband, Girish, whose only words of comfort were: “We have lived through worse”.

Fifteen km away, Suresh Jha, a porter, watched through the night with a cluster of slum-dwellers in Chitpur the water level rise in the Bagjola canal, to buffet against the 40-ft-high sandbag barrage.

Finally, as wave after wave hit the sandbags, the wall gave way early on Tuesday and the raging water rushed in, submerging the homes of Jha and other residents.

“Where will we go now, and there are almost 3,000 of us here?” cried Jha, as irrigation department officials present on the spot shook their heads in helplessness.

From the shanty towns in Chitpur along the Bagjola canal, to the households of Gokhale Road, Chetla and Rabindra Sarani, water from the swollen Hooghly has been engulfing large parts of the city from late on Monday night. And, weathermen have said that this is just the beginning.

Even the Gods have not been spared. The tidal surge has rushed into the area around the Kali temple at Kalighat and is now threatening to invade the temple itself.

Santosh Mullick, a temple sebait, pointed at the rising tide in Tolly’s Nullah which is licking the last step of the ghat. “Not even during the 1978 floods did the water reach this level,” he said.

Tapan Bose, a resident of Sadananda Road, stood in front of his house as the waters rose around the temple area. “I have not seen such intense tides in the past 40 years that I have lived here,” Bose said.

Kalighat Road, which leads to Mamata Banerjee’s residence, was also waterlogged. Anxious parents were waiting for their children to return from school. “My daughter went to school in the morning when the water was not so high. Now she will have to wade back,” said Alpana Sen.

Even before the water started receding, the first signs of a diarrhoea epidemic are evident in the modest dwellings in the Kalighat bylanes. Rita Sardar, a mother of two, said that the taps had all gone underwater. “The children are drinking the water and falling ill,” she lamented.

The numerous shops along the Kali Temple Road were shut as shopkeepers struggled to keep their wares dry. “See the water inside the shop, it is more than knee-deep and rising,” said Swapan Saha, owner of a cloth shop.

The scene was the same all along Tolly’s Nullah, stretching from Kalighat to Bansdroni, Naktala and Garia, where people have been forced to look for a dry patch of land for shelter.

In the north, businessman Hirak Saha of Rabindra Sarani was fearful of the rushing Hooghly. “When the water came in today, it crossed our doorstep,” Saha said, pointing to his two-storeyed house. Saha also feared for the safety of his STD booth and snack stall, if the water rose any further.

An irrigation department engineer said that the situation was uncertain for the next four days. “It is a matter of concern if the Hooghly keeps rising. It is now flowing five metres above the level of water in the canal,” the engineer said.

With the sluice gate under extreme stress due to the high water, more flooding of the Bagjola canal could create problems for areas like Lake Town and Salt Lake.

A police officer on duty near the canal said they were keeping a strict vigil. “We are constantly alerting people over loudspeakers and watching out for people venturing too close to the water’s edge,” the policeman said.

An engineer of the Calcutta canal division, Manas Chakraborty, monitoring the flow of water, said it would be futile to try and set up another sandbag barrage. “The current is too strong and it would be a complete waste of time and effort to set up a barrier once again,” he said. “It is certain to be washed away.”

A contingent of engineers from the irrigation department have been rushed to the sluice gates across the city to prevent leaks from its sides. But the engineers are not too hopeful of checking this. “Lack of maintenance has made it impossible for us to stem the flow of water into the city,” admitted an engineer.    


 
 
FREE FLOW THROUGH LOCKGATES 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
Two ill-maintained lockgates let Calcutta down on Tuesday.

Several streets were flooded as water entered the city through the broken lockgates of the irrigation department at Chitpur and of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation near the Race Course.

Despite repeated warnings, both the civic body and the state irrigation department had failed to repair their lockgates for the past two years.

The lockgates prevent Hooghly water from flooding the city at high tide, with the sluice gates being shut with the turn of a big wheel. At Chitpur, the irrigation department placed sandbags on the canal below the bridge to stop the flow of excess water. But the temporary measure failed, with the Hooghly waters washing some of the sandbags away.

“As a result, over 500 cusecs of water entered various canals winding their way through the city,” minister of state for irrigation Ganesh Mondal said.

According to the police, the sluice gates at the Chitpur lockgate has been non-functional for the last two years. “We had brought this to the notice of the irrigation department. A coordination meeting between senior police and irrigation officials was held last year. The irrigation department had sanctioned a few lakhs of rupees but the money was not properly utilised,” said an officer.

Admitting that the irrigation department had neglected maintenance of the lockgates, Mondal said that repair work will soon be taken up and a tender floated. “With the heavy siltation of the Bagbazar and other canals, the outflow of drainage water towards the Hooghly had become sluggish. So the lockgates had practically lost their relevance and no one bothered to maintain them. We had not bargained for the situation that has arisen out of the floods and high tide this year,” explained Mondal.

In the Maidan area, the CMC’s lockgate has been ‘out of order’ for the past one year. The river waters are rushing into the brick sewers through this gate.

With high tide in the Hooghly, scheduled for Tuesday midnight, large parts of south Calcutta face flooding.

Rajiv Deb, member of the mayor’s council in charge of drainage, said it would not be possible to repair the lockgate near the race course till the monsoon is over.

There are about two dozen lockgates in Calcutta, of which 15 belong to the irrigation department. The CMC ones are located at Bagbazar, Sovabazar, Nimtola, Jagannath Ghat, Jackson Ghat, Chandpal Ghat, Maidan, Chetla, Hume Road and Hazra Road.

The Hooghly is now swollen with flood waters from Nadia and Murshidabad flowing downstream towards the Bay of Bengal.

Deputy commissioner of police, north, Somen Mitra said about 25,000 people living on either side of the canal in Narkeldanga, and in the Rajabazar area, had to be evacuated.

“They have been moved to structures built for hawkers at Galiff Street,’’ Mitra said.    


 
 
SMILE, YOU SERVE THE BORO LAAT 
 
 
BY SAHELI MITRA
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
There’s a silent revolution sweeping the corridors of Raj Bhavan. The regal Governor’s House, where time seems to stand still, is suddenly taking a corporate turn.

In a bid to “inject a corporate culture among the staff and bring about a healthy work environment”, Viren J. Shah has roped in educational psychologist Raj Sethia to conduct an ‘attitude-training programme’ at Raj Bhavan.

The first session, attended by 60 junior staff members, concludes on Wednesday with an address from the Governor. The subsequent sessions will target senior staff members and bureaucrats.

“The workshop is aimed at developing inter-personal skills, team synergy and job-effectiveness among the staff,” says Sethia. He claims that the “work culture” in Raj Bhavan is far better than in “any state-run department... What the staff probably lacked was the joy of working, something that the Governor feels should be reflected on their faces.”

Before the workshop started, Sethia was given a special pass by the Governor to go around Raj Bhavan and interact with his ‘students-to-be’ without disclosing his identity. “It helped me understand how different departments work and interact among themselves,” he says. Sethia also compiled a job profile and performance graph of each staff member before the start of the programme.

The bottomline: Personification of the job. “One should not lose his or her personality and interest while working. This is exactly what happens in a government organisation, as there is always a lack of motivation,” explains Sethia. “The Raj Bhavan staff would take pride in the fact that they were the best in their respective fields and set an example for the rest. We wish to revive this tradition and improve work culture through this workshop.”

Sethia believes in keeping it simple. Suggestions to bring about a “change in attitude” are first invited from the staff. Then, Sethia suggests various tools of behaviour modification. These involve specially-designed interactive games to highlight “team synergy” and “interpersonal skills”, pictorial lessons to ensure better retention of information, flash-card games and group-therapy sessions to “encourage bonding” and “generate feedback”.

Some senior bureaucrats from the state health department dropped in at the workshop and were suitably impressed to contact the Governor and get details of the programme.

Will Writers’ Buildings go the Raj Bhavan way?    


 
 
CLASS BOYCOTT OVER HOSTEL CLOSURE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
Students of St Paul’s Cathedral Mission College on Amherst Street boycotted classes on Tuesday, protesting the closure of the 87-year-old college hostel.

Students staged a sit-in at the college principal’s chamber, demanding immediate withdrawal of the closure decision. Later, they sent a memorandum to the Church of North India (CNI), which controls the college, urging it to shelve the decision.

The governing body of the college issued the closure notice on Monday at the CNI’s directive.

Explaining the reason for the hostel closure, Paritosh Banerjee, acting principal of the college, said the building would be used to house two new departments — computer science and microbiology. “The church authorities want to open job-oriented courses for students. So far, the hostel facilities were availed of by outstation students. Now, we have decided to utilise the buildings for city students tool,” he added.

However, college sources said that the ragging of some freshers — leading to the expulsion of eight boarders last year — has prompted the church authorities to stop admission of outstation students in the hostel. Moreover, the authorities are concerned over complaints about growing political activities in the hostel during holidays.

“We have information that the hostel is sometimes used to provide shelter to outsiders,” a governing body member said, on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, students, upset over the development, pointed out that the decision was taken without taking them into account.

“We will not bow to any pressure until our demands are met,” said Debashish Naiya, leader of the CPM-controlled students’ union. He also condemned the way the authorities had forced the existing boarders to sign a paper, stating that they had no objection if they were asked to vacate the hostel at a week’s notice.    


 
 
FLOOD OF ’78 MEMORY AT DOORSTEP 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
The first thought that struck Shyamali Pal, as she stared down the balcony of her house on Rashbehari Avenue on Tuesday morning was: Is it going to be worse than 1978?

A housewife who has been living here for the past 30 years, the sheet of water that covered Rashbehari Avenue, on the Keoratala side, reminded her of the trauma that she and her family had to endure during the deluge 28 years ago.

She knew that the waters of the swollen Hooghly would enter the city, but she had never expected it would reach her home. She rushed to her husband, Girish, whose only words of comfort were: “We have lived through worse”.

Fifteen km away, Suresh Jha, a porter, watched through the night with a cluster of slum-dwellers in Chitpur the water level rise in the Bagjola canal, to buffet against the 40-ft-high sandbag barrage.

Finally, as wave after wave hit the sandbags, the wall gave way early on Tuesday and the raging water rushed in, submerging the homes of Jha and other residents.

“Where will we go now, and there are almost 3,000 of us here?” cried Jha, as irrigation department officials present on the spot shook their heads in helplessness.

From the shanty towns in Chitpur along the Bagjola canal, to the households of Gokhale Road, Chetla and Rabindra Sarani, water from the swollen Hooghly has been engulfing large parts of the city from late on Monday night. And, weathermen have said that this is just the beginning.

Even the Gods have not been spared. The tidal surge has rushed into the area around the Kali temple at Kalighat and is now threatening to invade the temple itself.

Santosh Mullick, a temple sebait, pointed at the rising tide in Tolly’s Nullah which is licking the last step of the ghat. “Not even during the 1978 floods did the water reach this level,” he said.

Tapan Bose, a resident of Sadananda Road, stood in front of his house as the waters rose around the temple area. “I have not seen such intense tides in the past 40 years that I have lived here,” Bose said.

Kalighat Road, which leads to Mamata Banerjee’s residence, was also waterlogged.

The scene was the same all along Tolly’s Nullah., stretching from Kalighat to Bansdroni, Naktala and Garia.

, where people have been forced to look for a dry patch of land for shelter.

“My daughter went to school in the morning when the water was not so high. Now she will have to wade back,” said Alpana Sen.

Even before the water started receding, the first signs of a diarrhoea epidemic are evident in the modest dwellings in the Kalighat bylanes. Rita Sardar, a mother of two, said that the taps had all gone underwater. “The children are drinking the water and falling ill,” she lamented.

The numerous shops along the Kali Temple Road were shut as shopkeepers struggled to keep their wares dry. “See the water inside the shop, it is more than knee-deep and rising,” said Swapan Saha, owner of a cloth shop.

The scene was the same all along Tolly’s Nullah, stretching from Kalighat to Bansdroni, Naktala and Garia, where people have been forced to look for a dry patch of land for shelter.

In the north, businessman Hirak Saha of Rabindra Sarani was fearful of the rushing Hooghly. “When the water came in today, it crossed our doorstep,” Saha said, pointing to his two-storeyed house. Saha also feared for the safety of his STD booth and snack stall, if the water rose any further.

An irrigation department engineer said that the situation was uncertain for the next four days. “It is a matter of concern if the Hooghly keeps rising. It is now flowing five metres above the level of water in the canal,” the engineer said.

With the sluice gate under extreme stress due to the high water, more flooding of the Bagjola canal could create problems for areas like Lake Town and Salt Lake.

A police officer on duty near the canal said they were keeping a strict vigil. “We are constantly alerting people over loudspeakers and watching out for people venturing too close to the water’s edge,” the policeman said.

An engineer of the Calcutta canal division, Manas Chakraborty, monitoring the flow of water, said it would be futile to try and set up another sandbag barrage. “The current is too strong and it would be a complete waste of time and effort to set up a barrier once again,” he said. “It is certain to be washed away.”

A contingent of engineers from the irrigation department have been rushed to the sluice gates across the city to prevent leaks from its sides. But the engineers are not too hopeful of checking this. “Lack of maintenance has made it impossible for us to stem the flow of water into the city,” admitted an engineer.    


 
 
FREE FLOW THROUGH BROKEN LOCKGATES 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
Calcutta, Sept.26: 
Two ill-maintained lockgates let Calcutta down on Tuesday. Several streets were flooded as water entered the city through the broken lockgates of the irrigation department at Chitpur and of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation near the Race Course.

Despite repeated warnings, both the civic body and the state irrigation department had failed to repair their lockgates for the past two years. The lockgates prevent Hooghly water from flooding the city at high tide, with the sluice gates being shut with the turn of a big wheel. At Chitpur, the irrigation department placed sandbags on the canal below the bridge to stop the flow of excess water. But the temporary measure failed, with the Hooghly waters washing some of the sandbags away.

“As a result, over 500 cusecs of water entered various canals winding their way through the city,” minister of state for irrigation Ganesh Mondal said.

According to the police, the sluice gates at the Chitpur lockgate has been non-functional for the last two years. “We had brought this to the notice of the irrigation department. A coordination meeting between senior police and irrigation officials was held last year. The irrigation department had sanctioned a few lakhs of rupees but the money was not properly utilised,” said an officer.

Admitting that the irrigation department had neglected maintenance of the lockgates, Mondal said that repair work will soon be taken up and a tender floated. “With the heavy siltation of the Bagbazar and other canals, the outflow of drainage water towards the Hooghly had become sluggish. So the lockgates had practically lost their relevance and no one bothered to maintain them. We had not bargained for the situation that has arisen out of the floods and high tide this year,” explained Mondal.

In the Maidan area, the CMC’s lockgate has been ‘out of order’ for the past one year. The river waters are rushing into the brick sewers through this gate.

With high tide in the Hooghly, scheduled for Tuesday midnight, large parts of south Calcutta face flooding.

Rajiv Deb, member of the mayor’s council in charge of drainage, said it would not be possible to repair the lockgate near the race course till the monsoon is over.

There are about two dozen lockgates in Calcutta, of which 15 belong to the irrigation department. The CMC ones are located at Bagbazar, Sovabazar, Nimtola, Jagannath Ghat, Jackson Ghat, Chandpal Ghat, Maidan, Chetla, Hume Road and Hazra Road.

The Hooghly is now swollen with flood waters from Nadia and Murshidabad flowing downstream towards the Bay of Bengal.

Deputy commissioner of police, north, Somen Mitra said about 25,000 people living on either side of the canal in Narkeldanga, and in the Rajabazar area, had to be evacuated.

“They have been moved to structures built for hawkers at Galiff Street,’’ Mitra said.    


 
 
TRIPURA REBELS LYNCHED 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Agartala, Sept. 26: 
Two militants of the National Liberation Front of Tripura were lynched in separate incidents during the past 24 hours.

Dreaded NLFT militant Laxman Debbarma, responsible for a large number of killings, abductions and forced displacement of non-tribals from Melaghar-Sonamura area, was lynched by local tribals in Umraibari area last night.

He had been the main coordinator of the NLFT’s operations in Melaghar and Dhanpur areas of Sonamura subdivision. He had masterminded a number of NLFT attacks in these areas which had claimed 20 lives.

In a separate incident, another NLFT militant Radha Reang was lynched by local tribals in Sripur village in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh bordering Tripura on September 21. Gandacherra police had received information that the slain rebel had raped a number of girls at gunpoint in Sripur village. On September 21, local tribals found him alone. They at once lynched and buried him.    

 

FRONT PAGE / NATIONAL / EDITORIAL / BUSINESS / THE EAST / SPORTS
ABOUT US /FEEDBACK / ARCHIVE 
 
Maintained by Web Development Company