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From darkness to light: Behala slowly gets back power in phases; residents recall ‘doomsday’

Meanwhile, there are several uprooted trees in Behala that can only be removed when power connections are shut down but due to ongoing protests by the locals to restore power connections, KMC is facing a challenge.

SOUMYADIP MULLICK | Kolkata |

After a prolonged period of darkness, for almost a week, brought about by the super cyclone Amphan, which snapped overhead power cables and uprooted trees, various areas in Behala are limping back to normal with electricity being restored in phases from yesterday.

Several parts are, however, yet to receive power.

KMC chairman Firhad Hakim today said that as per an updated count, a total of 15,500 trees were uprooted in Kolkata due to the cyclone.

Residents in large parts of Behala were literally kept in the dark as power connections were shut off to avoid deaths due to electrocution while overhead electric cables snapped as gigantic trees were uprooted and brought to the ground by howling winds that whistled through the city with a speed of around 135 kmph.

Snapped live wires claimed the lives of at least two residents of Behala ~ Pintu Gayen and Pavneet Singh Sethi.

For the inhabitants of the affected areas in Behala, it was like living in a land that has been cut off from the rest of the world.

Without any power connections, which also stalled water supply, people were left to their own devices, forcing them to eventually hit the city streets in mass protests, demanding immediate relief from Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and CESC.

When The Statesman conducted a survey of certain areas in Behala today, residents recalled the trauma they have been through and which will remain in their conscious minds for a long time to come.

A resident of Parnasree who could return home only the next morning after the cyclone, had to wade through the stagnant water to get to his home, spotted two bloated dead bodies floating in the water. The cause of death of those persons, as was later known, was electrocution.

In Parnasree, though most blocks got back power supply yesterday evening, some are yet to see the light. Residents recently agitated at Sagar Manna Road and near Parnarsree Police station in the area, demanding restoration of services.

Today, though the area was partially cleared, uprooted trees still dotted the roadsides. Parnashree bus stop is surrounded by a pile of such uprooted trees while snapped wires are hanging from the overhead cables.

In ward 131 in Parnashree, residents alleged that they are yet to receive power connections while a team of CESC officials was surrounded by agitators near Chata Park.

Meanwhile, there are several uprooted trees in Behala that can only be removed when power connections are shut down but due to ongoing protests by the locals to restore power connections, KMC is facing a challenge.

Councillor of ward 132 in Parnashree, Sanchita Mitra told The Statesman, “Tree clearing work in my ward is 90 per cent completed, the rest is left since power connections need to be temporarily shut for clearing these trees which are entangled with wires. I have been talking to all my residents and trying to convince them that I can only remove the trees when the power is shut during the clearing work. The residents, though they have been very cooperative till now, are not so ready to let go of the power connections that they got back after quite a long time.”