As the weather office predicted scattered rain during all four puja days, the state government is taking no chances. The state government has cancelled the leave of the district magistrates (DMs), block development officers (BDOs), and sub-divisional officers (SDOs) of the affected districts, and asked the officers concerned to be on their toes should the situation take an ugly turn.
All leave of the officers concerned like DMs BDOs, SDOs had been cancelled given the gravity of the situation. With rains being forecast on all the puja days, the officers had been advised to be battle ready to handle any situation promptly,” a source at the state secretariat said.
With the flood situation in the districts continuing to be a cause of concern, the state administration has stressed on strong coordination between the staff of different departments and the officers concerned in carrying out relief and evacuation work.
Meanwhile, rain-related incidents claimed the lives of three persons, including two children, in Murshidabad district, sources said.
A tin-roofed building, which was on its last legs after being badly damaged by prolonged showers in the last few days, collapsed on two minor girls, identified as Mimi Bagdi and Asha Bagdi, in the evening yesterday at Gokarna Dakshinpara area under Kandi police station limits.
Caught by the rain on the way home after visiting Durga puja pandals, they had taken shelter in the building. According to sources, the sharp edges of a corrugated tin sheet of the wreckage pierced Mimi’s neck and she died on way to hospital. Asha was trapped under the rubble and she was taken to Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital at Behrampore. At MMCH she succumbed to her multiple injuries today, sources informed.
In a separate incident at Ramnathpur area under Beldanga police station limits, one Sahadeb Mondal (43) was struck by lightning when he was working in the cropland. Mondal, a farmer, died on the spot. The delayed monsoon has taken on the form of disaster before the onset of the Durga puja festival in Murshidabad district. Major rivers of the district like the Ganges and its tributaries, the Bhagirathi and the Padma, swelled up due to frenetic downpours in the last one week causing floods in several blocks of Jangipur subdivision. The river erosion rendered hundreds of people homeless while floods claimed the lives of at least three persons including two kids, sources said.
The monitoring cell at Nabanna headed by the chief secretary Rajiv Sinha, has already begun its work, holding a video conference with the districts magistrates of affected districts to take stock of the situation there. Apart from Mr Sinha, home secretary Alapan Banerjee along with secretaries of other related departments. Civil defence, fisheries, PWD, irrigation and agriculture were also involved in the stock taking process. Sources at the state secretariat said that reports from the districts showed no signs of water receding in areas inundated by the overflowing of rivers which are is spate, the cell took stock of the minute details of the flood situation, and efforts that were being undertaken to evacuate people from the flooded areas. The cell also took note of the condition of the marooned people from the DMs of Malda, Murshidabad and Howrah., it was learnt. Though the monitoring cell was conceived with an eye to take stock of the flood situation, it was also believed to have been mandated with overseeing the law and order situation of the state during the festivities.
The DMs, CPs, SPs of the respective districts had been asked to be on their toes to maintain law and order in the districts during the pujas. They had also been asked to keep a special vigil for rumour mongers. Earleir, on Tuesday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee while training her guns at the Centre held lack of dredging as one of the reasons for the inundation of areas in the districts like Malda, Murshidabad and Howrah, she also lashed out at the Centre for opening of lockgates of Farakka Barrage without taking the state into confidence. The chief secretary led monitoring cell was set up and the senior ministers had been deputed to assist in relief and rescue operation undertaken in the affected districts.