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3 die as rains pound Malda; locals up in arms

1200 shops in Rathbari suffer losses due to water-logging.

AVIJIT ROY | Malda |

Incessant rainfall in Malda triggered by cyclone Yaas since yesterday has claimed three lives in Chanchal, including two minors. The victims have been identified as Tanu Soren, 50, Rohit, 7 and Rahul Tudu, 5, of Laliabari village under the Chanchal police station.

The woman and her grandsons were sleeping in the night when paddy stacked on a bamboo structure fell on them, it is learnt.

“Heavy rainfall hampered the recovery work and delayed hospitalisation led to their death,” a source said.

Police said they have sent the bodies for post-mortem at the Malda Medical College and Hospital. Local MLA Abdur Rahim Bakshi met the family members of the deceased and promised compensation.

On the other hand, almost 1200 shops in the Netaji Market in Rathbari, considered one of the largest wholesale markets in North Bengal, and many other places in English Bazaar were waterlogged since yesterday, which triggered protests at places.

Traders in the market demanded the authorities pump out the water from the market and staged a sitin on National Highwa-34 nearby, while hundreds of residents of Ghorapir area under the English Bazaar police station also did the same on the Malda-Manikchak state highway. Administrative officials, including Malda District Magistrate Malda Rajarshi Mitra, and the police visited both the places and managed to lift the blockade, it is learnt. Rajya Sabha MP and the district president of the Trinamul Congress, Mausam Noor, also visited the areas to take note of the plight of the people detained.

She said a report would be sent to the state government.

According to the secretary of the Merchant Chamber of Commerce, Malda, Jayanta Kundu, the loss faced by the traders was huge and various items in the shops worth more than Rs 2 crore were damaged in the rains.

“Amid the lockdown, such loss is unbearable and we demand compensation from the government,” said Mr Kundu.

DM Mitra rushed to the spot and started work to pump water out the accumulated water in the market, while municipal workers were engaged to clean the place, it is learnt. Meanwhile, Ms Noor took stock of the waterlogged situation at Gharapir where people from Krishnapally, Kulipara, Netaji Colony and other places spoke of their problems to the MP.

“Rainwater is still blocked at some places and the incessant downpour is responsible for this. Former councilors of the areas were with me at the time of my visit and I have requested the administration to pump out the water out of these areas. I also took some pictures of these areas to be shown to the state administration. Sewage systems will be thoroughly checked,” said Ms Noor.

DM Mitra said, “The district administration and the municipalities have been working on an emergency basis to restore normal conditions.”