7 killed as cyclone 'Bulbul' disrupts normal life in Bengal

7 killed as cyclone 'Bulbul' disrupts normal life in Bengal Kolkata, Nov 10 (PTI) Cyclone 'Bulbul', whichbarrelled through the coastal districts of West Bengal beforehurtling towards Bangladesh, claimed at least seven lives indifferent parts of the state, official reports said on Sunday.

The severe cyclonic storm, which brought in its wakeheavy rain coupled with gale wind till early Sunday, uprootedhundreds of trees and snapped cables in the city and itsadjoining areas in North and South 24 Parganas and EastMidnapore, bring life to a near-halt.

In North Parganas alone, five people were killed inseparate incidents.

According to a senior police officer, a septuagenarianwoman, Suchitra Mandal, died at Purba Makala village inBasirhat area of the district when a tree fell on her.

Several trees were also uprooted at Gokhna village,one of which claimed the life of Reba Biswas (47).

Manirul Gazi (59) was the third casualty in North 24Parganas. He was electrocuted to death after coming in contactwith a lamp post, the officer added.

Two more deaths, one due to wall collapse and anotherafter coming under a falling tree, were also reported in thedistrict, a state government official said.

In East Midnapore, too, a man died after he wascrushed by a falling tree.

Earlier, on Saturday, even before the cyclone hit thecoast, an employee of a renowned club in the city was killedwhen a branch of a cedar tree fell on him during heavy rain.

Torrential rain lashed the metropolis throughoutSaturday, forcing people to remain indoors. Gale wind withgusts up to 135 kmph prevailed over the coastal districts ofSouth 24 Parganas and East Midnapore and its adjoining areasin North 24 Parganas as the cyclone made landfall aroundmidnight on Saturday.

Hundreds of uprooted trees have blocked thoroughfaresin the state capital and its fringe areas, even as peoplebraved the adverse conditions to come out of homes on Sundayafternoon as the weather improved.

The NDRF, along with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC), police and fire personnel, is working on a war footingto clear road blockades caused by fallen trees and branches.

'We have already engaged workers to clear the roadsand pump out water from low-lying areas. We are hopeful ourwork will be over by tonight,' said a KMC official.

State disaster management minister Javed Khan said allemergency services have been put in place to ensure that theuprooted trees are removed at the earliest.

According to the IMD, the very severe cyclonic stormhad weakened into severe cyclonic storm before making landfallclose to Sunderban Dhanchi forest.

'Yesterday's very severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul' overnorthwest Bay of Bengal (BoB) moved northeastwards, weakenedinto a severe cyclonic storm and crossed West Bengal coastclose to Sunderban Dhanchi forest during 8.30 pm to 11.30 pmwith a maximum sustained wind speed of 110-120 kmph gusting to135 kmph,' it said in an official release.

The Met department also predicted light to moderaterainfall over the next six hours from 12.30 pm in North andSouth 24 Parganas, East Midnapore and Nadia districts.

In a tweet, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said onSunday she would conduct an aerial survey of the affectedareas around Namkhana and Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas.

'Due to the severe cyclonic storm 'Bulbul', I havedecided to postpone my North Bengal visit in the coming week.

Instead, tomorrow I would take an aerial survey of theaffected areas around Namkhana and Bakkhali.

'Later I would take a meeting at Kakdwip withadministration to review relief and rehabilitation measures ofthe cyclone-affected people. I am also planning to visit thecyclone-affected areas of Basirhat of North 24-Parganas on 13November, 2019,' Banerjee tweeted.

State power minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay saidmeasures were being taken to restore power supply in areas,where electric cables have been torn apart due to the cyclone.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spokewith West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee about thesituation arising out of the cylone and assured the state ofall assistance to deal with the calamity.

'Reviewed the situation in the wake of cycloneconditions and heavy rain in parts of Eastern India,' theprime minister wrote on Twitter. PTI PNT AMRRMS RMS