Incessant rainfall in Malda and in other parts of North Bengal since morning today has posed a threat to English Bazar as the Mahananda river flowed a mere 0.48m below the danger level.

Unprotected areas near the river have gone under water and people have moved to safer places, it is learnt. On the other hand, the Fulhar river has damaged the embankment at Surjapur in Ratua, while also damaging a portion of drinking water supply pipes.

The damage has led to people staring at a big drinking water crisis in areas under the Kahala gram panchayat, where almost 50,000 people live.

According to sources, the rising water in the Fulhar had started eroding the banks earlier, while the water level in the river receded to some extent. The river has however, continued to erode its banks. “Almost 400 families have shifted from low-lying areas, which are under water now,” local sources said.

The Mahananda division engineer for Malda, Badiruddin Shaikh, said that 15 meters of embankment in Surjapur was damaged by the Fulhar. “Amid the huge odds created by the rains from this morning, our workers and engineers are trying their best to stop further damage,” he said.

On the other hand, contrary to the Ganga and Fulhar, water level in the Mahananda is still rising, and according to experts, the water that is flowing from the neighbouring state of Bihar is responsible for the same.

Executive engineer of the district irrigation department, Pranab Kumar Samanta, said, “Some houses in the unprotected areas in English Bazaar have been taken away by the Mahananda. A respite from the rains in the upper catchment areas like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and some parts of North Bengal may improve the situation.”

According to sources, erosion has also started in some areas of Kaliachak, but no extensive damage has been done there so far.

“We are keeping a close eye on the situation and are taking necessary steps,” Malda District Magistrate, Kaushik Bhattacharya, said.