The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fresh rain clouds build up
- Met Office issues 48-hour warning; power supply hit
Clouds hover over Victoria Memorial on Wednesday.
Picture by Rashbehari Das

Calcutta, Sept. 26: The floodwaters are yet to recede fully from Calcutta and south Bengal districts but ominous warnings of more rain in the next two days are out.

Weather officials forecast fairly widespread rain, with heavy showers in isolated areas, in the next 48 hours as prolonged power cuts crippled the city and the districts this evening.

According to Met officials, a fresh anti-cyclonic circulation had formed over Jharkhand and adjoining areas that was hungrily sucking in moisture from the sea.

“The recent depression has already left behind loads of moisture in Gangetic Bengal. Moreover, the anti-cyclonic circulation has started sucking in more moisture from the sea,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the weather section at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.

“As a result, huge masses of thunderclouds have formed over Calcutta and the south Bengal districts. So we expect more rain during the next two days.”

This evening’s power cuts were sparked by the two-day-old waterlogging, which has disrupted supply of coal to the Kolaghat thermal power plant.

“We are helpless. We were forced to shut down two units at Kolaghat over the past two days as we have only about 35,000 tonnes of coal which is less than a two-day stock,” said S. Mahapatra, the managing director of West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited that runs state-owned plants.

The combined shortfall in areas served by the CESC and the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited was 765MW. In CESC-served areas, it was 200MW, one of the highest this year.

Mahapatra said incessant rain since Saturday had caused subsidence near the railway tracks between Dankuni and Andul and three-four rakes of coal were stranded there.

“Rain has been playing havoc with Kolaghat since July. It has affected mining of coal in the Ranigunj-Asansol belt. We got coal full of mud and slush in August. Now, we did not get any coal for three days. So we have not been able to build up buffer stock,” he said.

Mahapatra hoped generation would increase tomorrow as a rake carrying 7,000 tonnes of coal had arrived after making a detour.

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