More than 1000 residents of Abdulghata and Vitihar villages in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district have taken shelter in a flood rescue centre after floodwaters from the Kulick and Nagar rivers inundated their villages this morning.

Water also entered houses in some other villages like Tangra, Kumarjole, Kamartuli, Nayatuli, Doopduar and Nimtola in Raiganj. Panic spread among residents of Ward No 23 and 27 in Raiganj Municipality after cracks were spotted on the embankment on the banks of the Kulick river in the area.

“Incessant rainfall for the past five days in the district has caused water levels in both Kulick and Nagar rivers to rise. More than 1000 residents have already left their houses and have shelter in the Vitihar flood rescue centre and the dam of the Kulick river at Abdulghata,” the Sahakari Sabhapati of the Raiganj Panchayat Samity, Manas Ghosh, said.

According to Raiganj Block Development Officer Raju Lama, the rivers Kulick and Nagar are flowing close to the “red level.”“As such villages situated in low-lying areas have been inundated. A section of the people has started entering the flood rescue centre at Vitihar.

However, most of the affected families are still at home. If the situation turns grave, we will shift them to safer places,” he said. On the other hand, protesting water-logging for a long period of time on the road, traders and locals blocked the Itahar-Kaliyaganj state Highway near Durgapur More in Itahar for hours this morning.

The traders alleged that knee-deep water accumulates on the road after heavy rain fall in the absence of a proper drainage system. “Traders and locals have been facing grave problems. We demand that the administration build a drainage system on the spot soon,” a protester said. The blockade was later withdrawn following intervention from the police.