Malda (West Bengal), Aug 21 (IANS) Altogether 152 lives have been lost with 1.5 crore people affected in the ongoing West Bengal floods, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday after visiting three northern districts where large areas continued to be submerged.
“So far, there are reports of 152 deaths due to various causes like drowning, snake bites etc in the state in the ongoing floods. 1.5 crore people have been affected,” she said.
Banerjee said 45 lakh people have been affected in the three north Bengal districts – Malda, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur – she toured during the day.
The Chief Minister went to various inundated areas, heard grievances of the affected people and instructed the administration to be prompt in relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work.
In Malda, she held a meeting with the District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police and senior officials of the three districts. Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim, state Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Relief Department officials were present.
Banerjee directed the officials to ensure there was enough stock of medicines to tackle any outbreak of diseases once the water level came down.
The flood situation in northern West Bengal showed an overall improvement, barring Malda district where nearly five blocks were still inundated by the increasing water level of the Mahananda river.
“This situation is due to the water level of the river,” she told locals.
Floods have wrecked havoc in Cooch Behar, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Malda districts of north Bengal.
According to the State Irrigation Department, heavy downpour in Nepal and Bihar is further worsening the situation as the waters released by them is entering Mahananda.
They said the Mahananda was flowing 1.5 metres above the extreme danger level in the English Bazar area while some other rivers in the area have also breached the danger level.
The State Finance Department was collaborating with other departments, including its irrigation counterpart, to formulate a report on the overall flood situation and damages in the state, said state Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee.
“The report will be submitted to the Chief Secretary and Chief Minister in about a week,” he said.
The Chief Minister had earlier alleged floods in southern West Bengal districts were “man-made” and held the Centre and the Damodar Valley Corporation responsible for the disaster.
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