Kolkata: Massive water-logging following the season`s highest rainfall so far plunged the eastern metropolis into a state of chaos and disrupted normal life on Friday, officials said. An infant was also washed away and drowned due to the inundation.
The Met Office recorded a rainfall of 14 cm from Thursday night in Alipore and 16 cm in Dum Dum area close to the airport.
A six-month-old baby was swept away by the rising level of rain water while sleeping with his parents on a pavement in north Kolkata`s Muktaram Babu Street, police said.
"The body was recovered from Bidhan Sarani and was declared dead by doctors at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. We are waiting for the post mortem report. There was water-logging in the area where the parents were sleeping in Muktaram Babu street," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Division) Bastab Baidya said.
Residents had to wade through ankle-deep to knee-deep water in Park Circus, Central Avenue, Park Street, Jadavpur, Baishnabghta, Behala, Belgachia areas and as well as those close to the airport at Rajarhat.
In Patuli in the city`s southern outskirts, policemen were seeing keeping a watch on the situation on a boat.
In south Kolkata`s Purna Das Road, uprooted trees snapped power connection causing the disaster management unit of Kolkata Police and officials of Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation to rush to the spot to restore electricity.
Traffic crawled on the E.M. Bypass, the stretch that connects eastern Kolkata to rest of the metropolis.
Damaged roads due to ongoing metro extension work added to driving woes. Cabs refused to ply in many places owing to inundation, while others fleeced passengers.
Similarly, only a section of buses owned by state-run transporter CSTC plied.
"This was the highest rainfall ever since the monsoons arrived in West Bengal on June 19. Some places received more than 16 cm of rainfall. South Bengal was more affected," Deputy Director General of Meteorology (Eastern region) Devendra Pradhan told IANS.
The rains were due to a low pressure area in the vicinity of Jharkhand, but the situation would ease during the day, said Pradhan.
"We are not expecting heavy rains over the next two days," he said.
The Kolkata Municipal Corporation deployed 450 portable pumps to drain out water in streets, in addition to operating 340 pumps at 73 pumping stations in various areas.
Member (sewerage and drainage) of the mayor-in-council, Tarak Singh claimed inundation occurred due to tidal water flow from the Ganga.
"This is not actually water-logging. If that was the case, then vehicular movement would have totally stopped. Water levels are receding. Only few pockets of the city were affected," he said.
To rescue and ferry stranded people, Kolkata Police`s disaster management division has made arrangements to press boats into service at several police stations.