The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rain toll rises to 14

Calcutta, Oct. 8: The toll in the aftermath of the rain that ravaged Bengal over the past two days has gone up to 14 with five more deaths reported from Murshidabad, West Midnapore, Howrah and North 24-Parganas.

One person was electrocuted in Ghatal town of West Midnapore and a 10-month child was among two washed away by floodwaters in Murshidabad. The child fell into the surging water from his sister's lap. Two deaths were reported from Howrah and North 24- Parganas as well.

A trio was feared drowned in East Midnapore tonight when a boat capsized in the Kansabati river, which was in a spate. Police said a search is on to trace them.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta said at Writers' Buildings: 'The situation has improved across south Bengal, but Murshidabad is not out of danger because of breaches in embankments.' The minister might go to Murshidabad tomorrow to oversee relief work and calamity preparedness.

Irrigation minister Ganesh Mondal said a central team today went to Hasnabad in North 24-Parganas to see the erosion of embankments on the Ichhamati. The team will go to Kakdwip in South 24-Parganas tomorrow.

Earlier, at a meeting with the secretaries of the public works, health and public health and irrigation departments, chief secretary Asok Gupta asked them to draw up a plan of action within two days for restoration and repair of roads and water lines. Bridges and culverts connecting major roads will have to be repaired on a priority basis, he added.

Agriculture department officials said rain in September-end and over the past few days has wreaked havoc on vegetables. About 85 per cent of vegetables on nearly 60,000 hectares have been damaged.

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