THE Norwester on Wednesday night wreaked havoc in the southern districts of West Bengal,claiming eight lives and destroying standing crops. Three deaths were reported from South 24-Parganas,followed by two each in West Midnapore and Howrah,and one in Burdwan district,official sources said.
The state is unlikely to get relief from the seasonal storm as the Meteorological Department has issued a fresh warning that south Bengal is likely to bear the brunt of another spell of Norwester in the next 24 hours. Unlike yesterdays storm which hit Kolkata and its adjoining parts at 116 km per hour,the velocity of the wind in the next 24 hours is predicted to be around 70-80 km per hour, said a senior official of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.
The official said heavy to very heavy rainfall is also expected because a well-marked low pressure area over Orissa and the adjoining areas has concentrated into a depression.
Weather will be overcast for the next 2-3 days and districts like Murshidabad,Nadia,North and South 24-Parganas,Birbhum,Kolkata and Cooch Behar,Jalpaiguri,Malda in north Bengal,will receive heavy rains and hailstorms in some places, the Met Department said.
The storm caused widespread damage to the crops according to a preliminary estimate by the government.
In West Midnapore,paddy grown on 1,166 hectare has been damaged,500 hectares of groundnut and 5,528 hectares of sesame have been also affected. In Burdwan,paddy on 16,000 hectares has been damaged, said Agriculture Minister Moloy Ghatak. He said the total value of the damage was yet to be ascertained.
I have asked for a detailed report within two days and only after that the actual damage would be figured, he said. Asked about the compensation to the farmers,the minister said the affected farmers will get compensation from the insurance company through Kisaan Credit Cards. If it is found that the loss is more than the insured amount,the state will see to it, he said.
Fire and Emergency Minister Javed Khan announced government compensation of Rs 2 lakh to each of the dead families victims. If there were more deaths ,the state will pay a similar compensation, Khan said.
Rail services were disrupted last night but was normalised in the morning. Trains plied normally throughout the day today. All the irregularities were taken care of within the early hours today, said A K Ganguly,senior PRO,Eastern Railway.