Speedboats deployed in Kolkata following heavy rains

Kolkata, Aug 21 : Speedboats were out in parts of Kolkata and three other districts Wednesday to ferry stranded people as torrential rains continued for the fourth successive day, inundating a number of areas.

Over 30 speedboats have been pressed into service in the metropolis and East Midnapore, Malda and Jalpaiguri districts, said a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) official in Kolkata.

Disaster Management Minister Javed Ahmed Khan said the situation was under control with water starting to recede.

"There is no cause for worry. We have taken requisite action. Speedboats have been deployed in districts and in the city to ferry passengers. The water has already started receding," Khan told IANS.

In Kolkata, the boats have been in action since morning in Mukundapur in the southern outskirts where the water rose to waist and even chest levels.

Apart from Mukundapur and its neighbouring areas, J.B.S. Haldane Avenue, C.I.T. Road, Khidderpore in south Kolkata and Mahatma Gandhi Road in central Kolkata were water-logged following incessant rains.

The NDRF deployed six companies (totalling 24) of speedboats in East Midnapore. Eight boats were in action in Malda and Jalpaiguri districts.

"Six companies have been deployed in Midnapore. Eight boats are helping rescue efforts in Malda and Jalpaiguri. The boats were deployed this morning after a requisition came from the government," Sukhdev Raj, commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the NDRF, told IANS.

"We have launched two speedboats in Mukundapur," another disaster management official said.

Major thoroughfares were inundated, trees uprooted and many educational institutions declared holiday as torrential rains have been lashing Kolkata since Sunday, throwing normal life off-gear.

Total rain recorded over a 24-hour period since Tuesday noon was 70 mm, said an official.

"The inclement weather was caused by a low pressure zone centred about 100 km from Bankura town (the headquarters of Bankura district)," said a spokesman of Regional Meteorological Office, Alipore.

All districts in south West Bengal received heavy rains. The Met office has forecast more rains in the next 24 hours.

"Thunder showers may occur across districts like South and 24 North Parganas," said a a Met official.

--IANS (Posted on 21-08-2013)

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