The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fine weather forecast for festive days

There is good news for pandal-hoppers this Pujas, as the weatherman has predicted generally clear skies during the festival days. There is little or no chance of heavy rain during the Pujas, as the monsoon is on its way out, according to the Alipore weather office.

“It is only a matter of days before the monsoon leaves Calcutta. There is no possibility of heavy rain and we expect only scattered spells of light showers over the next few days,” said R.N. Goldar, deputy director-general of the meteorological centre in Alipore.

He said the monsoon, which begins to weaken in the state from October 8, has already withdrawn from Bihar and western Jharkhand. Goldar, however, does not rule out the possibility of a cyclone, as the period between October and December is also known as the cyclone season.

The recent spells of rain are being caused by an upper-air circulation over Bangladesh and adjoining south Bengal, which is showing signs of shifting towards Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.

“The showers have become few and far between and are mostly being caused by local formation of rainclouds,” said Goldar.

On the last Sunday before the Pujas, central Calcutta and parts of north and south Calcutta received a smart afternoon shower. Reports of water-logging poured in from areas like Sukea Street, parts of Amherst Street and Raja Dinendra Street. The Alipore weather office, however, recorded only 0.8 mm of rain till 2.30 pm.

“The downpour in central Calcutta and elsewhere was caused by local formation of rainclouds. So, there is nothing unnatural about the weather office recording so little rainfall,” explained an official.

He said the sky is likely to remain generally cloudy, with the possibility of one or two spells of light rain or thundershowers till mid-October. Then, gradually changing direction, the wind will begin to blow from the north, heralding a change of season.

Officials of the meteorological office did not rule out the possibility of cyclones, which are formed by the development of low-pressure zones in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman seas. Goldar, however, assured that there was no sign of any low-pressure area developing yet.

Taxi services

With news from the weather office encouraging, Puja revellers are expected to hit the streets in their thousands, and they have more cause for cheer. The Bengal Taxi Association has decided to organise special taxi services during the Pujas for pandal-hoppers from October 11 to 15.

The association has fixed the rate for the Puja trip at Rs 360 for the first four hours and subsequently, Rs 90 for every additional hour. Reservations for the pandal tour by cab can be done at the association’s office on Sarat Bose Road (475-3505-2249), Kasba (870-0544) and Park Circus (244-9394) from October 9.

nYouth run over by lorry: A 19-year old youth, Pintu Das, was run over by a truck at Bawali, in Nodakhali, on Sunday evening. Residents of the area blocked the road after the mishap, demanding the arrest of the driver, who had fled after the accident, police said.

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