The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Behala still submerged, 36 hours on

Thirty-six hours of waterlogging was enough for Shampa Das to scout for a safe and dry spot. On Thursday evening, the Behala homemaker and her two toddlers left for her parents’ home in Sodepur, in North 24-Parganas.

“I’ve had enough. It’s knee-deep even inside the room and my younger daughter fell into the water in the morning. I am not coming back unless the water level recedes,” said Shampa, a resident of Promod Nagar, in Behala, on the western fringes of the city.

A blazing sun and some makeshift arrangements by the civic body brought the water level down in most parts of Calcutta, including the inundated pockets of north Calcutta, by Thursday morning, but parts of the city remained under water.

The badly affected areas in Behala include Parnasree, Rabindranagar, Adarshnagar, Silpara and Bank Colony Math, where waterlogging brought life to a halt. “No less than eight lakh people are marooned,” said Sovon Chatterjee, borough chairman.

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya admitted that a few pockets in Behala remained submerged on Thursday. “There is no drainage system in these areas and it will take some time to lay sewer lines here,” said Bhattacharyya, adding that he was “happy” with the performance of the drainage department.

But in major parts of Behala, roads continued to resemble rivers and water levels did not show signs of receding, prompting the authorities of local schools to declare a holiday till Monday.

“We suffer waterlogging every year, but not to this extent. If three hours of rain can do this, we do not know what is waiting for us in the next few months,” said Narendranath Biswas, a resident of Silpara.

Shortage of clean drinking water and a lack of communication facilities compounded the woes of the waterlogged.

The only good news came from the Met Office, which has ruled out chances of heavy rain in Calcutta and its adjoining areas in the next 24 hours.

“The rest of Gangetic Bengal is expected to receive fairly widespread rain. It is expected to rain more in north Bengal,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the weather section at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.

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