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regular-article-logo Monday, 27 May 2024

Fierce 10-minute storm kills at least four persons and injures around 160 others in Jalpaiguri

Mamata rushes to reach Jalpaiguri on Sunday night, governor Bose to follow in another few hours

Our Correspondent Jalpaiguri Published 01.04.24, 10:22 AM
Trees uprooted in the storm at Mainaguri block, Jalpaiguri district, on Sunday

Trees uprooted in the storm at Mainaguri block, Jalpaiguri district, on Sunday Picture by Biplab Basak

At least four persons died and around 160 others were injured as a fierce 10-minute storm along with rain flogged vast areas of Jalpaiguri and some parts of the neighbouring districts of Alipurduar and Cooch Behar on Sunday afternoon.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has expressed concern over the incident, is set to land in Bagdogra airport around 10.30pm on Sunday and head for Jalpaiguri.

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Governor C.V. Ananda Bose is scheduled to visit Jalpaiguri on Monday.

Teams of civil defence, disaster management group, fire services and police have rushed to the affected areas for rescue and relief.

The storm has damaged several houses, agricultural fields and uprooted numerous trees.

Around 3.30pm, the storm first erupted in Sadar and Mainaguri blocks of Jalpaiguri.

“I was sleeping in my house. Suddenly, the storm blew away the tinned roof of my house. As I came outside, I found that the boundary wall had collapsed and at least three trees had got uprooted,” said Shyamal Barman, a resident of Barnish in Mainaguri.

Though the storm lasted for barely 10 minutes, it caused extensive damage.

Responding promptly to the natural disaster, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that the administration has initiated disaster management operations and relief work.

“Sad to know that sudden heavy rainfall and stormy winds brought disasters today afternoon in some Jalpaiguri-Mainaguri areas, with loss of human lives, injuries, house damages, uprooting of trees and electricity poles etc,” Mamata posted on her X handle (formerly Twitter).

She also said that affected people were being shifted to safer places.

The district administration will compensate the next of kin in the case of the deaths, and the injured according to rules following the model code of conduct, she wrote on X.

Among the casualties in the storm was Dwijendra Narayan Sarkar, 52, a resident of Senpara in Jalpaiguri town, who had been to Sukantanagar on work.

When the storm started, Sarkar took shelter under a tinned-roof house. Suddenly, a tree fell on the house and he died.

Anima Barman, 45 of Paharpur on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town, Jagen Roy, 72, of Putimari, and Samar Roy, 64, of Rajarhat, both in Mainaguri block, died in the storm, but details surrounding their deaths are awaited.

“The injured have been rushed to the super-specialty hospital in Jalpaiguri and to the block hospitals and health centres. Arrangements are being made to clear the uprooted trees as electricity supply got disrupted when the trees fell on the power cables,” said a source in the administration.

In the evening, Gautam Deb, the mayor of Siliguri, reached Jalpaiguri.

“I have come here as per the chief minister’s instructions. We are with the affected families,” he said.

Nirmal Chandra Roy and Jayanta Roy, the Trinamul and BJP candidates contesting from the Jalpaiguri Lok Sabha seat, visited the hospital in the town and spoke to the injured and their families.

The administration is yet to gather details of houses damaged in the storm.

“We are focusing on relief work now. Teams are working to clear the trees and other debris,” said an official.

Jalpaiguri apart, the storm affected villages in Mathabhanga-I and Cooch Behar-II blocks of Cooch Behar.

In Alipurduar, the storm damaged several houses in Alipurduar-I and Falakata blocks. “Power supply has also snapped in many locations in the district. Teams of WBSEDCL are working on it. We are yet to assess the damage,” said an official.

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