Kolkata: At least four people were killed and several others were injured on Friday as heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds impaired the city and affected flight operations at the Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
Heavy downpour began around 3.30pm and lasted for about 30 minutes, but left the city immobilised with inundated roads causing severe traffic snarls. Roads were waterlogged and jammed as large trees fell on the streets.
At Kolkata's iconic Victoria Memorial, a man was killed and 12 people were injured in a lightning strike. The deceased, who has been identified as Subir Pal, was at the Victoria Memorial along with his family to celebrate his two-year-old daughter’s birthday. They were standing underneath a tree with many others when a bolt of lightning struck them.
Pal and others were immediately rushed to the nearby SSKM hospital and at least four injured were Bangladeshi nationals who had come for a tour.
Two deaths were reported in Kolkata, while one in Purulia district and another in North Bengal, as per the Bengal police control room and the West Bengal Disaster Management & Civil Defence Department.
Injuries were also reported across West Bengal as cloudbursts triggered collapse of houses in Nadia, Bankura, North 24-Parganas, Malda, Murshidabad, East and West Midnapore districts.
“We are fully prepared to tackle any situation so that people don’t face any difficulties. My team members are there in all the affected areas. Medical team and ambulances were also on standby,” a senior Disaster Management official said.
According to the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), the weather is likely to be worst due to upper air cyclonic circulation over Bengal and Jharkhand. The monsoon trough is passing through Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and northwest Bay of Bengal.
“We are expecting acute spells of rain or thunderstorms during the day mainly at Kolkata, Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura, North and South 24-Parganas Districts,” an RMC official said.
Meanwhile, angry villagers in parts of Cooch Behar and Jalpaigiri blocked highways as the local administration failed to clear the waterlogged roads.
Operations at Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railways were also affected which caused much inconvenience for commuters.
Special control rooms have been set up at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ and KMC headquarters. In the city, Mayor Firhad Hakim was seen personally monitoring the situation.
Fishermen and tourists at coastal areas have been strictly asked not to venture into sea.