Waves damage stretch of Marine Drive at Digha
A portion of the newly constructed Digha-Tajpur Marine Drive was largely damaged by huge sea waves on Sunday three days before its scheduled inauguration by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
A well-marked low-pressure area over the west-central and northwest Bay of Bengal intensified into a “deep depression”, causing heavy rainfall in several districts of south Bengal and resulting in a turbulent sea on Sunday. The construction of the 16km-long Marine Drive between Digha and Mandarmani which includes three bridges was completed a few months ago.
But a stretch of 3km was washed away by Cyclone Yaas in May last year. A metal road was reconstructed on the stretch recently, where Mamata Banerjee was expected to visit riding vehicles during the proposed inauguration on September 14. But a heavy rain caused by a depression in the last week of August had partially damaged it making the stretch difficult for traffic. The stretch was subsequently repaired. But on Sunday, the stretch was again damaged by strong sea waves.
A senior official of the East Midnapore district administration said: “The Marine Drive will be inaugurated informally by the chief minister on September 14 as scheduled during her administrative meeting. But her visit to and ride at the Marine Drive has been postponed for obvious reasons.”
The venue of the administrative meeting has also been shifted to Tamluk from Digha, which will be held on September 14 as scheduled.Heavy-to-very heavy rainfall and thunder are expected to continue in south Bengal districts till September 14.The weather office in a bulletin said heavy rain (07–11cm) was expected to occur in North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, East Midnapore, Murshidabad, Nadia, East Burdwan and Birbhum till Tuesday.
Heavy rain is being anticipated by the weather office in North 24-Parganas, South 24 -Parganas, Murshidabad and Nadia for Wednesday.On Sunday, coastal areas in South 24-Parganas and East Midnapore witnessed heavy rain, accompanied by gusting winds, that led to turbulent sea conditions. The coastal zone of East Midnapore experienced heavy rainfall with squally winds.. “Sea water entered several adjacent villages and inundated the areas owing to high waves,” said Talgachri 2 gram panchayat pradhan Biswajit Maity.
Sources said the police administration had “strictly prohibited” sea bathing in Digha and adjacent areas till Tuesday. “We will not allow any violation and any attempt to sneak into the beach ignoring our order will be strongly dealt with,” said Digha police in-charge, Budhdhadeb Mal.
In South 24-Parganas, popular sea beaches like Bakkhali, and Kakdwip were closed to tourists.Earlier on Sunday, a strong tidal wave in the sea-linked rivers caused damage to various earthen dykes causing inundation. A sluice gate of the Kalindi river was damaged by high tide during the early hours of Sunday leading to infiltration of water in the Bhandarkhali, Hatgachi, Situlia, Goramari, and the Dulduli area of Hingalganj block of North 24-Parganas, which is part of the Sunderbans delta.
Local sources said that agricultural production on nearly 1,000 bigha had been damaged by inundation. Irrigation department sources claimed that earthen dykes along the Kalindi, Gourseshwar, Ichhamati, and the Choto Kalaghachi rivers had been damaged.
“We have been trying our best to repair the breaches using sandbags and earth, cement mortars, but heavy rain has put a hurdle to carrying out the work”, said Chandan Purakayastha, a senior engineer of the irrigation department.A senior official of the North 24-Parganas administration said: “We have told the irrigation authorities to examine the condition of the dykes and to take up immediate repairs before any further damage can occur.”