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April 22, 2024 2:05 pm

Storm wreaks havoc in northern West Bengal; 5 killed, more than 100 injured

Jalpaiguri , April 1

The death toll due to a storm that wreaked havoc in parts of Jalpaiguri district in northern West Bengal has risen to five, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said.

Over 100 people were injured while several hutments and houses were damaged, trees uprooted and electric poles came crashing down as strong winds accompanied by hail struck most parts of the district headquarters town and many areas of neighbouring Mainaguri on Sunday.

The Chief Minister, who rushed to the district late on Sunday night, assured the people of all help from the administration.

“So far, we have reports of the death of five people. The number of injured is quite high. I met the injured and the family members of those who died in the storm. The state administration will do everything to help the affected families,” she said.

When asked about providing compensation, Banerjee said, “As the model code of conduct is in place, I can’t say anything about it. You have to talk to the district administration.”

The CM on Sunday night visited those injured and undergoing treatment at the hospital. She also spoke to the family members of those killed in the storm and assured them of all sorts of assistance.

“This is a disaster, an emergency situation. I have visited the families of those who have been killed and also those who are undergoing treatment at the hospital. I will thank the administration for their prompt action in the rescue operation. We are beside the people and will take care of their treatment and rebuilding the houses,” Banerjee said, adding that the rescue operation is over.

Banerjee, accompanied by TMC party leaders, went to Jalpaiguri Medical College and Hospital and on her way also spoke to those in the relief camps in other parts of the districts through video call.

Among the most affected areas in the district were Rajarhat, Barnish, Bakali, Jorpakdi, Madhabdanga and Saptibari, officials said, adding that several acres of agricultural land and crops suffered damage.

Governor C V Ananda Bose also left for the northern districts of Bengal early Monday morning.

“This is very unfortunate. There is loss of lives in the storm. All the agencies are working together. I will be visiting the area and speak to the people there. Everything will be done,” Bose told reporters before boarding the flight.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the loss of lives in the storm and said he had spoken with officials and asked them to ensure proper assistance to those affected by it.

“Disaster response team has been deployed and helpdesks set up,” a senior official of Jalpaiguri district said.

However, not much damage happened in Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts, another official added.

Dhupguri MLA Nirmal Chandra Roy told PTI that several people have been admitted to hospital with injuries.

An emergency cell has also been opened at the Raj Bhavan to deal with the situation in Jalpaiguri, officials said.

According to an official statement, the governor is in touch with the disaster management authority in Delhi and has requested them to rush more reinforcement by way of manpower and materials to Jalpaiguri.

“He will camp in Jalpaiguri tomorrow and visit ground zero and houses of the victims,” it said.

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