| WATCH OUT FOR THE WAVES: Schoolchildren wait in Maniktala for a taxi to sail past and drench them further as rain lashed Calcutta and inundated many parts of it on Friday afternoon. Picture by Amit Datta
Three persons died and half the city was thrown out of gear in a brief but bruising spell of rain on Friday afternoon.
Shyam Manna, 40, and Mohammad Alam, 30, died when the balcony of a building at 154, Rabindra Sarani, under Jorasanko police station, collapsed during the downpour.
Both had taken shelter, around 2 pm, under the building, declared condemned by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC).
Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner (central), said the CMC had declared the building unsafe a few months ago, but it was still occupied by a number of shops and residents.
'The owner, Madan Agarwal, was involved in a court case with the tenants and so, refrained from repairs. A case has been registered against him after Friday's incident,' said Kumar.
Shah Alam, 50, was a victim of waterlogging, electrocuted near Mohammad Ali Park, on CR Avenue, after touching an electric feeder box on the pavement by mistake. The body, alleged residents, remained in the water for over an hour before police arrived.
Alipore weather office recorded 6.5 mm of rain till 5.30 pm. But the shower in other parts of the city, particularly north and central Calcutta, was far heavier.
Waterlogging hit vehicular movement on thoroughfares like Ultadanga Road, CR Avenue, Amherst Street, Raja Dinendra Street and Strand Road.
Traffic through the underpasses at Ultadanga and Kankurgachhi had to be stopped for over an hour.
Eastern Railway sources said waterlogging in the Howrah rail yard delayed incoming and outgoing of trains. Circular Railway services were also suspended.
G.C. Debnath, director of the weather section at the regional meteorological centre in Alipore, said: 'Strictly speaking, this is not monsoon rainfall, as the monsoon current is now weak over south Bengal. This afternoon's thunderstorm was caused by local formation of thunderclouds following heavy incursion of moisture from the Bay of Bengal.'
Debnath added that the atmosphere was heavy with moisture and further incursion because of a trough of low pressure stretching from Bihar to north-east Bay of Bengal, had brought on the showers, that could be repeated on Saturday.