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Rain havoc in districts

July 7: At least nine people were killed today with the rain refusing to go and the flood situation turning worse.

Officials said swirling waters, crumbling walls, snapped power cables and snakebites took the flood toll to 29.

Heavy rain in East and West Midnapore over the past 24 hours has led to further swelling of the Kangsabati, Keleghai, Subarnarekha and Silabati. In several areas, the rivers have spilled over.

Three platoons of the army that were pressed into service in West Midnapore last night used speed boats and canoes to rescue the marooned in Sabang, Dantan and Ghatal.

The jawans brought nearly 25,000 people to relief camps during the day, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said after a meeting with district officials at the Midnapore circuit house.

The army deployed boats today to distribute food packets containing puffed rice, molasses and drinking water.

Three air force helicopters dropped food packets in Monsuka, Srimantapur and Khasbar villages of Ghatal block.

The West Midnapore zilla parishad chief said the army is trying to strengthen the embankments of the Silabati. “More platoons of the army have been sought for Ghatal,” Pulin Behari Baske added.

Water rushed into Anima Samanta’s house in Ghatal this morning, but the family braved the flood to go to a temple outside the town to get her daughter married. “The saris were ruined, but still...” she said.

Flood waters swept away shops and huts at Sankrail and Jamboni in West Midnapore last night. They have also wreaked havoc in vast stretches of Patashpur in the East.

Gobinda Sasmal is a worried man. He stays in Midnapore town but his family is in Ghatal. “I tried to reach home but in vain,” he said.

Vast swathes of farmland are under water. Over 5,000 villages and 40 lakh people have been affected, said officials.

“The situation in Midnapore is grave, though things have improved a little in Calcutta, 24-Parganas, Bankura and Purulia,” the chief minister said. He reviewed the situation with chief secretary A.K. Deb, home secretary P.R. Ray and other officials at Writers’.

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