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Heavy torrential rains throw life off-gear in Kolkata
Tuesday August 20, 2013 10:52 PM, IANS

Major thoroughfares were inundated, trees uprooted and many educational institutions declared holiday as torrential rains lashed Kolkata for the third straight day Tuesday, throwing normal life off-gear. However, there were no reports of any deaths or injuries.

Total rainfall recorded over a 24-hour period since 2.30 p.m. Monday stood at 117.6 mm.

"The inclement weather was caused by a low pressure zone centred about 100 km from Bankura town (the headquarters of Bankura district)," said a Regional Meteorological Office, Alipore, spokesman.

All districts in southern West Bengal received heavy rains.

The Met office has forecast more rains in the next 24 hours.

"The skies will remain generally cloudy. There will be occasional rain or thunder showers with spells of heavy rains," said a weatherman at the Alipore Met Office.

People waded through waist-deep and knee-deep water in certain city areas like Camac Street, James Long Sarani, Bikramgarh among others.

"Water level is up to my knees. In some areas it is up to the waist and thighs," Debdoot Das, a resident of James Long Sarani in Behala, told IANS.

Traffic almost came to a halt in the arterial stretches of E.M. Bypass, Central Avenue, Ruby Connector and Dharamtalla.

Harassed commuters, cloaked in raincoats and sheltered under umbrellas, waded their way through puddles.

Office-goers, stranded midway, huddled under shop canopies and in street markets.

Some stretches of key roads like Sundari Mohan Avenue and the Eastern Metropoltian By-pass was cut off for hours due to falling trees. Later, the authorities cleared the thoroughfares and traffic movement resumed.

Many schools declared Tuesday as a holiday as the local transport system was severely hit by the constant downpour. Car drivers switched on their lights while driving during the day to see better in the dim daylight

The Alipore bodyguard lines of the Kolkata police was under knee-deep water for some hours during the day.

Known for its street food, Kolkata's alleys and street corners sported a deserted look as snack vendors chose to stay away.

Even traffic policemen - covered in raincoats and wearing gumboots - had a hard time carrying out their duties in the unrelenting showers.

With toddlers giving their lessons a miss to enjoy an unofficial holiday, carefully crafted paper boats in myriad sizes and colours dotted puddles and water-logged stretches in Salt Lake and Golf Green, giving an appearance of Venice, Italy.

A brief respite in the afternoon prompted denizens to rush out and run errands.

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