Water released from the Damodar Valley Corporation dams (DVC) coupled with heavy rains has left six districts in southern West Bengal inundated, leading to nearly 2.5 lakh people getting displaced from their homes.
According to state government officials, fourteen people have lost their lives and numerous houses have been damaged due to the floods reported in the state. The Army and the Air Force on Monday undertook rescue and relief operations in all the flood affected districts. The districts that have been affected include Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Hooghly, Howrah and South 24 Parganas.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed her cabinet ministers to keep a tab on the rescue operations, a senior state government official said, adding that the CM has directed ministers to be present at their respective districts and oversee the relief and rescue operations.
Over one lakh tarpaulin, 1,000 MT of rice, thousands of drinking water pouches and clean clothes have been sent to the rescue shelters for those affected, the official stated.
"We have not yet estimated the loss incurred due to the flood. As of now, our sole priority is to rescue the affected," he said.
Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee, who visited the flood-hit areas of Ghatal in Paschim Medinipur district during the day, said he would apprise Banerjee of the situation, and steps would be taken accordingly to tackle the situation.
"I have witnessed several floods in the past, but the situation is terrible this time. The CM had asked me to look into the matter. After conducting this survey, I will report to her," Mukherjee said.
Water from Rupnarayan and Dwarakeswar rivers have overtopped banks and entered residential areas, flooding homes in Hooghly district, the official said.
"At least one lakh people have been moved to safety in Hooghly district alone after their houses were damaged. There are several others who are still stranded on the roof of their homes or elevated structures," he said, adding that NDRF personnel are working to rescue them.
A Defence spokesperson said that helicopters and boats were used in relief and rescue operations in Hooghly district, following a request from the state government.
Choppers dropped emergency food supplies in the affected areas.
"Helicopters of Indian Air Force rescued 31 people from rooftops and brought them to safety to Arambagh," he said.
One flood-relief column of the Army was deployed at Dhanyaghari in Hooghly, the official said.
Meanwhile, a DVC official said that water was last discharged from its dams on July 31.
(With PTI inputs)