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226mm rain floods Alipurduar

- Girl dies as tree falls on her house, garden loses tea worth Rs 20 lakh

Alipurduar, June 26: Alipurduar got 226.20mm of rain from 9pm yesterday to 8am today, resulting in severe waterlogging, the death of a child and a power crisis that kept the town and its outskirts dark till 4pm today.

Sources in the irrigation department said Alipurduar and its adjacent areas received 226.29mm rain, accompanied by thunderstorms.

India Meteorological Department sources in Siliguri said the region might get heavy to very heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Amal Kanti Roy, the subdivisional officer of Alipurduar, confirmed the 226.20mm rainfall figure and added that 13 of 20 wards of Alipurduar were under water.

The strong winds uprooted several trees. One tree fell on a hut in Nonai village near Alipurduar and crushed to death six-year-old Tukimani Das.

SDO Roy, who visited the affected areas this morning said: “Staff from the disaster management department are already out helping people. I have instructed the irrigation department to repair embankments (wherever there are cracks). If it rains tonight, the situation will worsen because the Kaljani river is already flowing above the danger mark. We have shifted more than 500 people to higher places.”

The Met office in Calcutta said the metro gets waterlogged if it rains 70mm in a single day. A senior official in the department said 226mm rain in 12 hours was “exceptionally heavy”.

On September 24, 2007, Calcutta got 170mm rain in 12 hours and 205.6mm in the entire day. In July 2006, Mumbai got nearly 940mm of rain.

In Alipurduar, Tukimani was sleeping at home along with her sister and parents when the tree fell on their hut.

Her father Suryomani said: “We did not realise there was a storm outside. Suddenly there was a loud sound and we woke up to find that a tree had fallen on our hut. We could not open the door because the tree had blocked the way. We raised an alarm and some neighbours came to our rescue.”

The rain and strong winds also ruined tea worth Rs 20 lakh on the Kadombini tea estate.

B.S. Bamrah, its manager, said: “Almost 9,000kg tea stored in the garden factory was damaged after the tin sheds were blown away in the storm. The total loss is not less than Rs 20 lakh. A number of labourers’ quarters were destroyed when trees fell on them.”

He added that the garden in Falakata, 32km from here, had reopened in March after three years.

“We started work just three months ago. It is a big blow to us,” said Bamrah.

Civic officials said three parts of an embankment on the river had been washed away.