Tourists barred from stormy sea at Digha
The East Midnapore district administration barred tourists from venturing into sea for three days from Thursday because of stormy weather triggered by a depression in the Bay of Bengal.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall and squally wind conditions in coastal Odisha, Bengal and northeastern states from October 22 to 24.
As a precautionary measure, the district administration has barred bathing in the sea and asked fishermen not to venture into the rough sea for the next three days. Those who have gone for fishing have been told to return.
Ramnagar 1 block development officer Bishnupada Roy said: “In response to the forecast issued by the meteorological department, we have barred anyone from venturing into the sea from October 22 to 24. The weather turned stormy since Wednesday night and the sea is rough.”
Roy said a control room had been opened at the block office to deal with any eventuality. The administration is also using the public address system to inform tourists about the weather and the ban imposed on bathing in the sea.
Civil defence and police personnel have been deployed at the sea resorts of Digha, Mandarmani, Shankarpur and Tajpur to keep an eye on tourists and stop them from taking the plunge. A 22-member team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has arrived from Barrackpore in North 24-Parganas to deal with any emergency situation.
Civil defence personnel Ratan Das said the sea had turned turbulent from Wednesday evening.
“A woman was being swept away while bathing on Wednesday evening. We rescued her and took her to the hospital. She has returned home. From today (Thursday), we will not allow anyone into the sea,” Das added.
Since Thursday morning, Digha wore a cloudy look and this dampened the spirit of tourists, many of whom had come to the sea resort after Calcutta High Court banned the entry of visitors inside Durga Puja pandals across the state in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sumana Dasgupta, a resident of Tollygunge in Calcutta, had come to Digha with her family to enjoy the four days of Puja. The ban on bathing has left her gloomy. “My 14-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter have been planning for long to have a great time in the sea. Our plan has gone haywire with the ban on bathing in the sea. We arrived this morning and booked rooms till October 24. We will return early,” she said.
Joint secretary of the Digha-Shankarpur Hoteliers’ Association, Bipradas Chakraborty, said: “The seaside resorts were slowly coming out of the lockdown blues but the change in weather has led to cancellation of bookings.”
Assistant director of fisheries, marine, of East Midnapore, Surajit Bagh, said: “Fishermen have been asked to stay off the sea for three days beginning Thursday. Those who are in the sea have been asked to return fast.”