|Houses submerged at Burmanpara in Mainaguri block of Jalpaiguri district on Wednesday.|
TT, July. 20: Heavy rainfall in the upstream of the Teesta led to flood in at least two villages on the left bank of the river downstream today, forcing over 1,000 families to move to safer places.
The river’s rise forced the authorities of the Teesta Barrage to release additional water.
A herd of seven elephants, including two-three calves, was stuck in the river for around six hours because of the rise in the water level. The animals were trying to cross the river to reach the right bank when they got stranded in the middle.
The elephants were left stranded at a spot where the river cuts through Baikunthapur forest.
|The elephant herd stuck in the Teesta river because of sudden rise in the water level, Pic: Biplab Basak|
They finally crossed the Teesta when the water level decreased around 2.30pm.
For the past couple of days, the Teesta has been gobbling chunks of earth in the villages of Sangepara in South Changmari panchayat and in Durgapara of Champadanga panchayat, both in Malbazar block of Jalpaiguri district.
“This morning, as more water was discharged from the barrage (in Gajoldoba under Rajganj block of Jalpaiguri district), the river flooded both the villages. We had been on alert for the past couple of days and had shifted our belongings to safer places. Today, the hutment in which we live, went under water,” Hiren Roy, a resident of Sangepara, said.
With over 1,000 houses and huts completely or partially submerged, students could not carry their books and other belongings with them as they were rescued by the National Disaster Response Force. “We were rescued by NDRF boats and taken to higher places. So far, we have not received relief from the administration. Many of us could not save our belongings and have no clue as to how we arrange food for our families and where we will spend the night,” Nirmal Haldar, a Durgapara resident, said.
Officials of Malbazar block administration claimed that they had sent food, tarpaulins and other relief materials to the flood-affected people.
“We have rescue teams posted at strategic locations. The administration is on alert and in case there is a report of flood, immediate arrangements for rescue and relief would be made,” an official of Jalpaiguri district administration said. He added that some villages in Mainaguri block were also inundated.
Sources at the India Meteorological Department said it had rained heavily in many places of north Bengal in the past 24 hours.
“The southwest monsoon is strong over sub-Himalayan north Bengal and there is a forecast of heavy to very heavy rain in the districts of Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar and in Sikkim in the next couple of days,” an official said.
In the past 24 hours, it rained 117mm in Sevoke, 82mm in Siliguri, 112mm in Malbazar, 167mm in Banarhat and 147mm in Jhalong.