Two killed in Bengal as lightning strikes, rains

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Kolkata, March 22 (IANS) Two persons were killed on Friday after being struck by lightning in East Burdwan district of West Bengal, as rain and thunderstorms lashed Kolkata and other districts, disrupting normal life including train services, officials said.

A 19-year-old boy and a 39-year-old man died when they were struck by lightning in Budbud area here while they were working on the field at Natual pally village, said a police officer.

The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) of Kolkata said a squall passed over Kolkata (Alipore) with maximum wind speed of 68 kmph at 5.26 p.m., followed by gusty northwesterly wind.

Various parts of Howrah, South and North 24 Parganas, West and East Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia, Hooghly, Nadia districts reported uprooted trees and electric poles, and damage to shops and other properties.

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In Kolkata, uprooted trees at Park Street, Dalhousie and Subodh Mallick Square have led to traffic disruption in many areas. Three agencies — the fire brigade, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and police — have deployed personnel to remove the fallen trees.

“All the blockades created by the fallen trees will be cleared in two-three hours,” police said.

Officials had predicted “thunderstorm with gusty wind, lightning and light to moderate rain likely to affect parts of Kolkata, Howrah and South 24 Parganas district(s) for two-to-three hours starting around 5 p.m.

Commuters availing train services faced major disruption as the trees fell onto the overhead wires which power the trains.

“Train services in the suburbs mainly South division of Sealdah and in Howrah division were disrupted for a short while as a Nor’wester ripped through, accompanied by scattered rain,” Eastern Railway officials said.

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The sudden rescheduling severely inconvenienced commuters.

–IANS

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