7 dead, several injured as massive storm hits Kolkata, suburbs

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Kolkata: Seven people were killed and several others injured today after strong winds of up to 98 km per hour hit the West Bengal capital and its adjoining areas, disrupting public transport and traffic, officials said. Unconfirmed sources, however, put the death toll at 13.

Four deaths were reported while two died in Bankura district and one in Howrah district, police said. “A nor’wester hit the city with a gale force of 98 km per hour around 7.42 pm,” Regional Meteorological Director G K Das said.

Police said uprooted trees blocked at least 26 places, disrupting traffic. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation pressed into service a disaster management team to clear the debris.

Electrical fires were reported from various parts of the metropolis, a fire department official said. The New Market police station, located in the heart of the city, plunged into darkness following a short circuit during the storm.

People returning home after work faced traffic jams and snarls, as metro and train services were hit. Metro services were disrupted for over two hours from 7.50 pm, a Kolkata Metro Railway spokesperson said.

Eastern and South Eastern Railway sources said suburban train services in Sealdah and Howrah divisions were affected as overhead wires snapped during the storm. A section of a railing fell on an empty train at Howrah station, the sources said, adding that no one was injured.

Departure and arrival of some flights, too, were delayed because of gutsy winds, airport officials said.

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