The Fulhar river in Malda has crossed the ‘extreme danger level’ and has flooded large swathes of land in Ratua and Harishchandrapur blocks.

Around 50,000 people living in the unprotected areas in these blocks have been affected by water-logging, it is learnt. The flood fear has also left people living in the protected areas panic-stricken. The river has almost reached a primary school in the village of Bonkutola in Mahanandatola gram panchayat in Ratua-I. “The flooded river is just metres away from engulfing the school,” local sources said. The local people and panchayat members have appealed to the administration to save the school as well as the village.

According to the district irrigation department, the water in the Fulhar has been flowing at a height of 28.59 m, which is 24 cm higher than the ‘extreme danger level.’ The level was attained by the river over the last 24 hours, with a rise of 39 cm overnight. The water level in the two other rivers in the district, Ganga and Mahananda, is also on the rise. “However, the water in the two rivers is almost one-and-a-half metres below the danger level,” a department source said.

Department officials are blaming the waters in the upper catchment areas of rivers for the rise in the water level in the district. “However, we are expecting that the levels will fall in two-three days,” an official said. “Apart from the Fulhar, rainfall locally has also contributed to this rise of the river water from Sunday, and gram panchayats in Ratua like Bilaimari and Mahanandatola, along with Daulatnagar, Islampur and Bhaluka had flood waters in almost 25 areas,” sources said.

The Pradhan of the Mahanandatola GP, Kiran Majhi, said that they have appealed for the safety of the Sambalpur Primary School.

“But the rise in the water level suggests that the school may not be saved from the flood. Some other places also had water, which the administration has been informed of,” he said.

Areas in Bajitpur, Badantola and Meghutola in the GP have been inundated and at least 200 families were shifted to other high ground overnight, with a few of them taking shelter in mango orchards in polythene tents.

Some flood victims, meanwhile, alleged shortage of relief materials like baby food, dry food, mosquito nets, and drinking water.

Malda District Magistrate, Kaushik Bhattacharya, said that relief materials in plenty have been arranged for the flooded areas of Ratua.