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Storm blows away roofs, hits power & water supply

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  • Published 20.05.11

Jalpaiguri, May 19: Over 200 houses were partially or completely destroyed and power and water supplies were disrupted when a storm battered Jalpaiguri town and the adjoining rural areas last night.

It was around midnight last night when it began to rain and soon, a storm lashed the area and it continued till about 2am today.

Jiten Pramanik, a resident of ward 23 in the Jalpaiguri Municipality, said the tin roof of his house was blown away. “We somehow huddled together throughout the storm and this afternoon, we got plastic sheets from the panchayat officials, who were distributing relief nearby.”

Premananda Roy, whose house was damaged in the storm, has taken shelter in a neighbour’s house. “We left our home around 2am after the roof was blown away and took shelter in Ajay Basak’s house in the neighbourhood.”

According to official estimates, about 55 electric poles were damaged by falling trees or flattened by the strong winds.

Sources in the Jalpaiguri municipality said water could not be supplied to 7,500 dwellings in the civic area. The 1,700 roadside taps had also run dry throughout the day, causing immense hardship to residents.

The tin roofs of Madan Mohan Primary School, located near Assam More on the outskirts of town, were also blown away in the storm. One tin sheet landed about 200 metres from the school.

The headmaster of the school, Sunil Kundu, said classes would be suspended till the building was repaired. “We are writing to the school education department for funds to repair the school. The summer vacation will start on June 5.”

Uttam Sarkar, the assistant engineer of the water supply department of the municipality, said the power crisis had caused the pumps to remain idle and there was no water supply to any house in the 25 wards of the civic body. “We could supply water to only 10 wards around 2.30pm. The power crisis badly affected the water supply in the town.”

An employee of the government engineering college here, Krishnachandra Das, said the hot spell that followed the storm was unbearable. “None of us could take a bath and it was terrible going to work without being able to freshen up in this heat and humidity,” he said.

Indranil Sungupta, an assistant meteorologist at the weather station here, said the storm had been caused by a cyclonic circulation prevailing over north Bengal, Bihar and Assam.

“More heavy thundershowers are predicted for Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar in the next 48 hours. There is a low pressure over Bihar, north Bengal and Assam.”

Sungupta said the day’s highest temperature was 27 degrees Celsius and the discomfort was caused by 88 per cent humidity. The additional director of the agriculture department, Nabyendu Basak, said there was a loss of about Rs 1 crore to farmers growing jute and vegetables.