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Storm wreaks havoc in Malda
- Around 300 homes damaged

Malda, June 12: A storm which lasted for ten minutes damaged around 300 dwellings in two gram panchayats in Gajole this morning.

No one has been injured.

According to the block development officer of Gajole, Soubhik Mukherjee, the storm hit around 3.30am today.

“The storm caused damaged to around 15 villages in the Chaknagar and Sahazadpur gram panchayat areas (around 35km from here) around 3.30am and lasted for 10 minutes. We are assessing the damage at the moment. Luckily, there were no casualties. We have already started the distribution of polythene sheets to the affected families as well as rice,” said Mukherjee, who visited the affected areas.

The BDO was accompanied by the CPM panchayat samity sabhapati, Prabhat Poddar, and CPM zilla parishad member, Dipali Biswas.

According to the sabhapati of Gajole panchayat samity, about 300 dwellings belonging to over 150 families have been fully damaged. “Most of the houses are constructed of mud and brick walls with either tiled or tin roofs. We are sending our panchayat staff to all the villages so that a total assessment of the damages can be made. We are fully co-operating with the administration so that we can distribute relief to the affected people. About 200 other dwellings have also been partially damaged,” said Poddar.

The BDO said the families who fell in the BPL category would be helped to rebuild their houses. “We are making a list of the affected families in the BPL category. We will assist them with funds from government schemes to rebuild their houses,” said Mukherjee.

According to the BDO, the affected persons have taken shelter in makeshift tents made of polythene sheets. “We have completed the distribution of polythene sheets and the villagers have set up makeshift shelters at their damaged homes and are spending the night there. There were some people staying on the verandahs of schools till the distribution of the sheets were completed,” the BDO said.

Basudeb Mondol, a farmer of Sundarpur village in Chaknagar, said: “When I heard thunder and rain, I went out of the house to cover my harvested paddy. When I came back, I woke up my wife and two children. The strong winds and the lashing rain blew away the tin roof of our dwelling. The mud walls of our house collapsed in front of our eyes. Then the storm suddenly stopped. We were very scared as it was dark and remained awake till sunrise.”