Flood situation in West Bengal's six districts remain unchanged, even as the death toll rose to 17 with reports of eight more deaths from different districts on Friday.
"There is no major change in the state's flood situation. With the release of more water by the Damodar Valley Corporation, some more areas in Hooghly and Burdwan districts have been inundated," state's Panchayat and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee told PTI.
"With fresh release of water from Maithan and Panchet dams by the Damodar Valley Corporation, some new areas of Hooghly and Burdwan districts have been inundated affecting many, mostly at Khanakul and some areas of Burdwan, Mukherjee said.
State Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee is already in Khanakul to monitor the extent of damage there and expedite rescue and rehabilitation of the affected people, he said.
Joint secretary of the state's Disaster Management Department Amit Chowdhury said in addition to nine deaths till on Thursday, fresh reports of eight more deaths have come in on Friday, taking the toll to 17.
Out of these, five were from Burdwan and two were from West Midnapore, while one person was washed away at Udainarayanpur in Howrah district, he said.
A compensation of Rs 2 lakh has already been announced by the state government to the next of kin of the victims. The six affected districts included West and East Midnapore, Howrah, Bankura, Hooghly and Burdwan, sources said.
"Situation in the East Midnapore district still continues to remain grave because of the inflow of tidal water through breached river embankments, even as there was slight improvement in West Midnapore district, they said. Mukherjee said the local administration in all affected districts have taken steps to expedite distribution of relief materials and medicines among the victims in relief camps.
Lakhs of people under 82 blocks of the five districts have been affected, with nearly 75,000 houses either fully or partially damaged, sources said.
Describing the flood as "man-made", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited four affected districts, earlier blamed the DVC and Jharkhand government for sudden release of water from Maithan and Panchet dams and Galudhi barrage without any consultation and prior information to the state government. "It was not due to rains. There was no continuous monitoring of those agencies, who abruptly released water," she had alleged.
Both the DVC and Jharkhand government, however, denied the allegation saying water was released with prior intimation to the state government.