The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lash of rain, sea of woe
- On Deluge Day, Metro tours the worst-hit pockets of a marooned Calcutta
Boats out on the streets

Place: Ekbalpore.

The last thing a family, arriving from Patna on Friday, would have expected on the streets of Calcutta was a boat ride. But it was a speedboat that dropped them home, on Maulana Mohammed Ali Road, thanks to a police posse that bailed out the marooned family. Two speedboats, parked near Ekbalpore police station, along with the hand-pulled rickshaw, were the only viable mode of transport here.

Place: Mominpur.

It was the portrait of an eatery as an island as Hotel Kahkeshan, on Dent Mission Road, saw a row of employees huddled on a row of tables, waiting for the water to recede. The only items on the menu in the vicinity were the flattened rice and molasses being distributed by policemen and local youths on speedboats.

Place: Thakurpukur.

“Since last night, we have been confined to the bedroom in knee-deep water. With no supply of drinking water and no electricity, we don’t know how we will spend the night,” cried Bapi De, a resident of the Government Housing Estate in Barisha, Thakurpukur. Residents were seething. “No one from the Behala municipality has cared to visit us,” grumbled Purnendu Ghosh.

Place: Behala.

The approach road to Sourav Ganguly’s residence was also not spared by the weather gods and civic authorities. Biren Roy Road (East) was under knee-deep water. “Never have I seen such waterlogging here; even the puja pandal close to Maharaj’s house is under water,” said Saibal Mitra, a neighbour.

Place: Tiljala and Topsia.

Friday prayers were held on the first floor — instead of the flooded courtyard — of the Gulmarg mosque and another mosque on CN Roy Road, as more than a lakh people living in the area were victims of waterlogging.

Place: Kumartuli.

Idols draped in plastic, idol-makers desperately trying to dry the deities, and a trickle of puja organisers failing to take home their Durgas on Mahalaya.

Place: Chittaranjan Avenue.

Even the Ambulance headquarters of the CMC and the fire brigade address were flooded. Saving grace: no traffic jam.

Place: Ultadanga.

It was hard to spot Ultadanga Main Road. “This situation is nothing new; it happens every year,” grumbled Ashish Kumar Dutta, standing in knee-deep water. The Ultadanga Bata outlet wore a deserted look.

Place: College Street.

A hush had descended over College Street Market. A few shops kept lonely vigil. “This could have been such a busy day, but now, not a sari has been sold,” trailed off a salesman at Indian Silk House. Bookshops rued the damage to “so many books”. The last word from a wise man: “This is a combination of nature’s fury and man’s negligence.”

Place: Amherst Street.

Bring on the boats, please.

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