The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sky dries up, not roads

Calcutta, Sept. 23: The skies held, but there was little relief on the ground.

Several parts of Calcutta and its adjoining areas continue to be waterlogged today, and clogged drains are not helping matters.

Near the Belgachhia tram depot, a submerged wire claimed Moinur Alam, 30, who was electrocuted this morning.

“Massive waterlogging has made our lives miserable. We do not even have access to safe drinking water,” complained Mohammed Iqbal, who lives in Ekbalpore.

Residents of Watgunge and Mominpur — along with Ekbalpore, they were among the hardest hit yesterday — waded through knee-deep water. Some of their houses were flooded as well.

“We had no option but to spend a sleepless night yesterday. My children are crying for food, but what can I do' The puffed rice provided by policemen yesterday was too little,” said 60-year-old Abdul Qadir, huddled on a cot with his family in a tiny room in a dingy bylane of Kidderpore.

Shopkeepers were forced to keep their shutters down and some schools were closed.

“If there is no further rain, the water level will recede by tomorrow. We have been supplying puffed rice and molasses to residents. A large number of people have also been evacuated. We have asked for extra bleaching powder to disinfect the stagnant water,” said Rajiv Mishra, deputy commissioner (port).

In north Calcutta, Amherst Street, Ultadanga, Kankurgachhi and Patipukur remained submerged, and in the south, the water touched knees in Topsia and Picnic Garden.

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya held a video-conference with the chairpersons of all borough offices. “Pumps are being installed in the affected areas to drain out the water,” he said.

At Alipore Body Guard Lines, the headquarters of Calcutta Armed Police, personnel were seen travelling in boats for the second day in a row.

In places where buses and cars were plying, traffic jams tested people’s patience.

Railway services limped back to normal. Some long-distance trains had to be rescheduled and local trains were running an hour late on an average because tracks and yards were waterlogged at a few places.

Over a hundred people blocked C.R. Avenue in front of Mahajati Sadan for an hour tonight, protesting against a prolonged power cut in the area. The blockade was lifted when police intervened.

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