Around 450 people were rescued from the Mal River in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district after eight people were swept away and several others went missing due to flash floods in the waterbody during idol immersion of Goddess Durga.
An eight-member BJP delegation visited the area, spoke to many of those who had been rescued, and met the kin of those killed in the flash floods. Meanwhile, the district administration said the rescue operation was stopped since last night
"No one is missing as of now. Six people are still admitted to the hospital. The death toll so far is eight. We stopped the rescue operation late last night. But we have kept three rescue teams on standby," Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Moumita Godara told PTI. It is the responsibility of the state government to ensure the safety and security of the devotees, party MP Jayanta Ray, who led the delegation, said.
"The administration should have been more careful," Ray said. North Bengal Development Minister Udayan Guha, however, dubbed the BJP's allegation of lacunae by the administration as baseless. "We took all steps promptly for relief and rescue. The BJP team has visited the area to pursue cheap politics," he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the incident. Each of them also announced Rs 50,000 to the injured. The flash floods occurred around 8.30 pm on Wednesday when idol immersion of several community Durga pujas at Malbazar in Dooars area was being held.
(With PTI inputs)