The state government has sounded an alert in all north Bengal districts, following forecast of ‘very heavy to extremely heavy’ rainfall between 24 June and 28 June made by the Indian Metrological Department.

The department of disaster management and civil defence has asked district magistrates to inform the departments concerned to remain prepared and keep Quick Response Teams (QRT) ready in case of emergencies.

However, sources said most of the districts lacked deepdiving teams. In a notice, the department has, however, cautioned that measures should be taken “in compliance with the guidelines issued for preventing the COVID-19 outbreak by maintaining social distancing and use of masks and santisers.” “Landslide-prone zones in the hills may be warned about enhanced rainfall predictions, and evacuations should be carried out well in time as per district assessments,” the government notice says.

Accident cases related to heavy rainfall occur in north Bengal districts, especially the Hills, almost every year. The Indian Navy and National Disaster Response Force had been pressed into service on 17 July last year, a week after a vehicle carrying three tourists from Rajasthan and a Siliguribased driver plunged into the raging Teesta river at Sevoke near Siligurion 10 July.

The Indian Navy had to deploy a specialised diving team from the Eastern Naval Command on the request from the state government for search and recovery. The department has asked to keep flood shelters and boats ready with an evacuation plan.

“District control rooms should function round the clock to keep watch on enhanced rainfall,” it says. Water-logging in Alipurduar Meanwhile, torrential rainfall for the past 24 hours in Alipurduar led to water-logging at some areas under the Alipurduar Municipality. Places on the town like Suryanagar, Arabindanagar, Arabindanagar Pilkhana, Sarada Pally, and Bidhan Pally were under water following the rainfall yesterday and today.

According to the Alipurduar district Irrigation Department, 290.60 mm of rainfall was recorded in Alipurdaur town, while 79 mm was recorded in Hasimara in the district in the past 24 hours. The 290.60 mm rainfall was the highest recorded so far this year, officials said. Water level in rivers in the district has also gone up, but sources said that they do not pose any danger right now.

“Rainwater has accumulated in low-lying areas in Alipurduar town. River water has not entered the protected areas. We are looking in the matter,” said the executive engineer of the Alipurduar Irrigation Department, Priyam Goswami.