10 killed as Northwester hits Bengal


At least 10 persons, including five teenagers, were killed in lightning strikes as a Northwester accompanied by heavy rain lashed parts of the Gangetic West Bengal on Sunday afternoon, a state disaster management official said.

While four youngsters lost their lives in a lightning strike in Howrah district's Uluberia, two men each were killed in Nadia and West Midnapore's Ghatal and one in Murshidabad.

"A 14-year-old boy was killed by lightning at Park Circus Maidan in Central Kolkata on Sunday," Kolkata Police said.

"Four teenagers in the 10-15 age group were killed by lightning near Uluberia's Damodarpur while returning home through an open field. One of their friends was injured," an officer posted at the Howrah police control room said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed anguish over the recurring natural disasters and said her government would do everything possible to support the affected people.

"Unfortunately, there has been a lot of natural calamities this year. It is happening not just in Bengal but across the country. A few people died during the thunderstorm today (Sunday). We are monitoring the situation. Our government will provide necessary aid and support to the affected," Banerjee told the reporters here.

Heavy rain and thunderstorm lashed parts of Kolkata, Hoogly and North 24 Parganas district for nearly 40 minutes to an hour, throwing traffic temporarily out of gear.

The city recorded 23.8 mm of rainfall while North 24 Parganas district's Barrackpore recorded 68 mm rain, the highest in the state on Sunday, a MeT official said.

"The bad weather was not caused by any depression. It is due to Kalbaisakhi (Northwester). The weather condition is improving now but there is a chance of showers during late evening," the official added.

Nor'wester or Northwester is rain and thunderstorm occurring in India and Bangladesh. Kalbaishakhi occurs, with increasing frequency, from March till monsoon sets in over northeast India.