It’s here, finally. The monsoon arrived in Calcutta early on Wednesday, as dark, rain-bearing clouds of the south-west monsoon crept over the skyline. What began with intermittent showers soon turned into a downpour, bringing the temperature down to tolerable levels — from 35.5 degrees Centigrade to 28.3 degrees Centigrade.
“We have officially declared the arrival of the monsoon over Gangetic West Bengal. The rains began setting in over the city since Tuesday,” said R.N. Goldar, deputy director-general at the Alipore Meteorological Office. According to Goldar, temperatures are expected to drop to a range of 18 to 22 degrees Centigrade in the first flush of the monsoon. The rains — which recorded 44.7 mm on its debut this year — are expected to withdraw by the second week of October.
“The monsoon rarely fails in Bengal, as well as the eastern region of the country, though the national outlook is that the rains this year will be slightly below normal,” said Goldar.
If the rains brought relief, it was also accompanied by the usual combination of waterlogging and traffic disruptions. “I am new at my job, but we at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation are doing our best to tackle waterlogging,” said newly-reshuffled mayor-in-council member (drainage and sewage) Mala Roy.
She, along with Trinamul Congress MLA Sougata Roy, toured the areas around Tolly’s Nullah on Wednesday. “We have to pump some of the rainwater into the canal to avoid inundation of the area,” Roy later said.
According to Roy, the desilting operation of the century-old brick sewer line at Hatibagan will be complete within a week. She said 90 pumps were at the ready in the city’s 18 pumping stations for a war against waterlogging. “During the past three years, the city has had below-average rainfall and, hence, the water which accumulated on the roads receded quickly,” added Roy.