Kolkata: The toll in the West Bengal floods on Monday shot up to over 70 and affecting 36 lakh people even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the release of water from barrages for the deterioration of the flood situation in two districts.
At least 20 deaths were reported during the day from the flood-hit districts, said disaster management sources here. The fresh loss of lives were caused by electrocution, drowning, snake bites, lightening and wall collapse.
At least 3.6 lakh people have been sheltered in 2,213 relief camps, but there were complaints from the inundated villages of lack of relief materials.
Over 12 districts have been hit, though the chief minister expressed hope the situation will improve from Tuesday.
"Rs.4 lakh compensation will provided to the families of those killed in the floods. Those who have lost limbs will be given Rs.2 lakh and Rs.60,000 for those sustaining other injuries. Rs. 12,000 will be given to those with slight injuries," she said at North 24 Parganas district's Ashoknagar, where a storm had triggered massive damage last week.
Banerjee, who personally monitored the flood situation overnight at the state secretariat Nabanna, distributed relief material in Ashokenagar.
"The flood situation has improved in Birbhum and Murshidabad districts, whereas condition in Bardhaman continues to be the same," she said earlier in the day.
"The flooding in Hooghly and Howrah districts have worsened and will deteriorate a bit further as DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation) has released more water," she said.
According to Irrigation Minister Rajib Banerjee, DVC has released 90,000 cusecs of water since last night compounding the woes of flood-hit residents.
Officials said nearly 56,000 houses were damaged fully, while 2,72,488 houses suffered partial damage. Crops spread over 5,18,173 hectares were destroyed.
The Burdwan district administration requisitioned army help in relief and rescue in Patuli, Jaudanga and Babladange areas of the district on Monday.
"Headquarter Eastern Command is coordinating the relief efforts in consultation with the local administration. Flood relief column comprising Army Engineer Task Force and medical teams from the newly raised Trinetra Division are coordinating the work.
"The teams were equipped with boats and flood relief stores. They also provided immediate medical assistance to the injured and sick people," a defence release said.
Primary relief work, such as distribution of food and medicines, are also being carried out by monks of the Ramakrishna Mission in the worst-affected areas of Murshidabad, Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
The chief minister said besides 47 municipalities, 210 blocks and 9,691 villages were affected by the flood due to heavy rains triggered by Cyclone Komen, marooning over 18 lakh people.
Banerjee assured all necessary help to the flood-hit people while requesting the "moment of crisis" not be made a political issue.
Stressing the government is and will provide all the necessary relief to those affected by this natural calamity, she appealed that "this moment of crisis should not be used for political purposes and individual gain".
"Instead of engaging in slander sitting in TV studios, this is the time to stand by the affected and extend help. I prefer standing with people at the grassroots who have lost everything than to show up for discussions on TV," she said.
However, opposition parties mocked the state government for its handling of the situation.
"Missing d Thames & d cool? CM may review & monitor. No flood tourism with her extra large team," tweeted CPI-M state secretary and leader of opposition in assembly Surjya Kanta Mishra on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Met office has forecast "heavy rainfall" in isolated places in south Bengal and sub-Himalayan regions of the state.
On Sunday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Banerjee over phone and inquired about the flood situation in the state.
Exams at the Burdwan University have been deferred until the situation improves.