5 dead, over 300 injured in Bengal storm, Chief Minister meets victims' families

At least five people died and more than 300 were injured after a sudden thunderstorm and ensuing hail struck Bengal's Jalpaiguri district, causing massive destruction. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met the affected people in hospital and also the families of the victims, and assured them of help from the administration.
5 dead, over 300 injured in Bengal storm, Chief Minister meets victims' families
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Five people died and more than 300 others were injured after a sudden thunderstorm hit parts of West Bengal's Jalpaiguri on Sunday. An ensuing hailstorm coupled with the storm, videos of which flooded social media, also damaged as many as 800 houses, uprooted several trees and electric poles as gusty winds ransacked most parts of Jalpaiguri and multiple regions in the neighbouring Mainaguri.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee landed in Jalpaiguri on Sunday night, and visited the Jalpaiguri Super Specialty Hospital to meet the wounded people. She also took stock of the situation and met the families of the victims, while asserting that the state government is by the side of the affected people, and will do everything possible to aid them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the loss of lives in the storm. Taking to X, he urged BJP workers to assist the affected people and added that he had asked officials to ensure "proper assistance".

Two children among the injured were shifted to North Bengal Medical College in a critical condition on Sunday night. Many people are still under treatment in Jalpaiguri District Hospital. The storm's intensifty was so high that it tossed houses, motorcycles and cars from one place to another. The storm's impact was also felt in Jalpaiguri's neighbouring districts - Coochbehar and Alipurduar.

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5 dead, over 300 injured in Bengal storm, Chief Minister meets victims' families

The storm lasted for about 10 minutes, with eyewitnesses saying that it started from the bottom of the Teesta River and turned into a massive loud sound that uprooted multiple trees. Several hutments and houses were damaged, trees uprooted, and electric poles collapsed as strong winds accompanied by hail struck most parts of the Jalpaiguri headquarters town and many areas of neighbouring Mainaguri on Sunday.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters after arriving in Jalpaiguri that five people have died and the number of injured is "quite high". "I met the injured and the family members of those who died in the storm. The state administration will do everything to help the affected families," she said.

The Chief Minister, however, dodged the question of providing compensation, citing the "model code of conduct in place". "You have to talk to the district administration," Banerjee added.

Rajarhat, Bakali, Jorpakdi, Saptibari, Barnish, and Madhabdanga were among the most affected regions in Jalpaiguri, officials said, adding that several acres of agricultural land and crops suffered damage.

Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose also left for Jalpaiguri from Kolkata airport on Monday morning. Speaking to reporters, he called the natural disaster "very unfortunate". "There is loss of lives in the storm. All the agencies are working together. I will be visiting the area and speak to the people there. Everything will be done," he added before boarding the flight.

Officials said an emergency cell has also been opened at Raj Bhavan to deal with the situation. According to an official statement, the governor is in touch with the disaster management authority in Delhi and has requested them to rush more reinforcement by way of manpower and materials to Jalpaiguri. "He will camp in Jalpaiguri tomorrow and visit ground zero and houses of the victims," the statement added.

Source: India Today

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