Cyclone Remal leaves 1 dead, disrupts public transport in Kolkata

Kolkata, May 27 (UNI) One woman died of wall collapse as Severe Cyclone Remal triggered heavy overnight rains and winds gusting up to 135 kmph disrupting normal life, inundating parts of the city besides uprooting hundreds of trees and knocking down electric poles in West Bengal on Monday.

The woman died of wall collapse in Bibibagan locality of central Kolkata’s Entally area late Sunday, official sources said. There were reports of another woman perishing when she was crushed under a falling tree in Namkhana of South 24 Parganas’ district, but there was no official confirmation as yet.

Initial reports said several persons were injured due to house collapse or when hit by flying debris as Remal made its landfall between the coasts of West Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh. The state government has already shifted to safer places around 1.10 lakh people living in low-lying areas.

According to the Regional Meteorological Centre here the landfall process began around 8.30 pm on Sunday and ended in the wee hours of Monday between Sagar Island in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district and Khepupara of Bangladesh near Mongla.

It brought in its wake heavy rains, with Kolkata experiencing 146 mm of showers, and 100-110 km winds that gusted up to 135 km per hour, which uprooted trees and snapped overhead power cables, besides twisting signal posts.

Trees felled by the cyclone blocked vital roads in the posh Salt Lake area, stalling vehicular traffic movement.

Areas in South Kolkata like Dhakuria, Park Circus and Ballygunge were under knee-deep water while Metro railway shades were blown away in Tollygunge and Kavi Nazrul stations.

Services of the North-South Metro railway line in Kolkata was affected as the tracks between Park Street and Esplanade stations were waterlogged.

“Due to waterlogging on tracks in between Park Street and Esplanade stations, truncated services are being run in between Dakshineswar and Girish Park as well as Kavi Subhash and Mahanayak Uttam Kumar stations from 07.51 hrs (on Monday),” the Metro Railway spokesperson said.

Efforts were on to remove water from the track bed and restore services of what is now regarded as the “lifeline” of the city.

The commuters were further inconvenienced as taxi operators made a killing by charging exorbitant amounts.

Railway services, which were suspended as a precautionary measure in the suburban Sealdah South Section, have resumed after 9.30 am. However, Eastern Railway sources said it would take the entire day to restore normalcy.

The NSCBI airport, which was also shut down from 12 noon on Sunday, resumed flight operations at 8.30 am. Altogether 340 domestic and 54 international flights had been cancelled since Sunday.

Reports from North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore districts said many thatched houses were flattened due to the storm which also twisted electric posts.

Giant tidal waves were seen in the Bay of Bengal as the authorities prohibited the handful of remaining tourists from going near the sea in the Digha, Mandarmoni and other popular resorts in the coastal belt.

In the seaside village of Lakkhipur close to the popular tourist resort Bakkhali in South 24 Parganas district, many houses collapsed and sea water flooded the agricultural land. Many of the villagers have taken shelter in flood centres.

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