Bengal flood toll rises to 46

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Kolkata, Aug 1 (IANS) The toll in West Bengal floods shot up to 46, with fresh reports of loss of seven lives, a state government official said on Tuesday.

“Seven deaths have been reported over the past 24 hours. So, now the figure has gone up to 46,” said the official of the state’s Disaster Management Department.

In all, 27 lakh people were affected in 105 blocks of 14 districts by the inundation after heavy monsoon rains and release of water from the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) dams.

The floods have wreaked havoc with cultivation of paddy, jute and vegetables, as large tracts of crop lands have been submerged for days, adversely hitting agriculture in 13 districts.

According to Agriculture Minister Purnendu Bose, of the 3,17,675 hectares of paddy seed bank, 59,394 hectares remain under water.

Of the 10,82,285 hectares where paddy sapling were sown, 1,79,321 hectares were inundated, said Bose.

Around 2,731 hectares under jute cultivation were flooded as against the total 2,58,296 hectares where the cash crop was sown.

Of the 1,20,182 hectares over which various vegetables were sown, 29,779 hectares are under water.

“We need to sow paddy seed afresh urgently. We are making all preparations. We need to do this in the next 15 days. All seeds are ready and we will give seeds free of cost to farmers,” said the Minister.

–IANS

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