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Nor’wester claims 11 lives in districts

May 3: A nor’wester that brought many people relief from the sticky heat claimed 11 lives in three districts this afternoon.

Eight people, four among them children, died in Malda, where 100kph winds hit around 11am. The thunderstorm continued for 10 minutes, followed by half an hour of rain.

In Canning, South-24 Parganas, two labourers died when they were struck by lightning this evening as they spoke on their mobile phones, police said. In Nadia, farm labourer Kajal Ghosh too was killed by lightning as he worked in the field. His son Baban, 12, and relative Palash Ghosh, 17, were admitted to a health centre with injuries.

Seven-year-old Rumki Mondol was electrocuted at Narharipur village, Malda, when a live wire dropped on her. Seven others were crushed under uprooted trees.

The areas worst hit in Malda were Gajole, Old Malda, Bamongola and Habibpur, where power supply is yet to be restored after several lines snapped.

“It’s difficult to comment on the extent of the damage. I have sought a detailed report from the block development officers,” Malda district magistrate Sridhar Ghosh said. He said the storm had caused extensive damage to the paddy and mango crops.

Mango development officer Samarendranath Khara said: “There has been a low yield this year; the storm has damaged the crop further.”

The Malda police superintendent said more than 25 people had been admitted to health centres with injuries.

The storm also upset Mamata Banerjee’s campaign plans this afternoon. She had boarded a helicopter at 12.44pm at Calcutta airport to fly to Hooghly, Nadia and North 24-Parganas for a string of rallies.

The chopper made it to Hooghly but could not fly to Krishnagar in Nadia because of the bad weather. The helicopter returned to Calcutta and made an emergency landing at the airport. Mamata left for Krishnagar by car.

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