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Death toll in Bengal rains and floods crosses 50

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In Jalpaiguri, West Bengal/ PTI Photo
Saeldah station in Kolkata/PTI Photo
Saeldah station in Kolkata/PTI Photo

Kolkata: The death toll in West Bengal due to heavy rains and floods crossed 50 on Sunday after seven more deaths, including of four children, were reported from various districts.

At least four children were killed and four other people seriously injured after they were struck by lightning in Barasat in North Paraganas district on Sunday, police said.

Buildings with weak structures collapsed in several areas, including in the city, due to overnight downpour.

An elderly man was crushed to death after a portion of his house collapsed here. A two-year-old was killed in Murshidabad district when a wall collapsed. A similar death was reported in Bankura.

The rains triggered flood-like situation, affecting 12 districts, damaging nearly two lakh houses and rendering over a lakh people homeless.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met district officials and postponed her upcoming north Bengal tour.

“Several districts, including North and South 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Burdwan and Howrah, have been affected. Disaster management teams are working on a war footing,” she said.

Banerjee said crops over 2.10 lakh hectares of farmland were destroyed across the state.

“The situation is getting worse with every passing day as more and more areas are getting inundated,” the chief minister said.

“While the entire state administration is working to reach out to the affected, we urge all political parties and NGOs to assist in relief work,” Banerjee said.

After several parts of the city got waterlogged, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation pressed into service over 300 pumps to drain out rainwater.

Meanwhile, the regional Met office has forecast heavy to very heavy rains at a few places in the Gangetic and sub-Himalayan West Bengal till Tuesday.

Fishermen have been warned not to venture out into the sea on the West Bengal coast.

 

(IANS)

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Every Traveller Must Visit these Offbeat Destinations

Offbeat destinations for new year's getaway

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Traveler
Every traveller will love visiting these travel destinations. Pixabay

This holiday season, treat the traveller inside you with offbeat destinations nestled in the lap of refreshing natural landscapes.

1. Ponmudi Hill Station, Kerala

Ponmudi offers so much to travelers who love to explore the winding paths and surely have a thing for long drives. Set in the Western Ghats of Kerala, it is a picturesque hill station that is surrounded by lush greenery and a sheen blanket of mist. Trekking is one of the most adventurous activities that one may wish to delve in, here.

The place has started getting traction in recent years, which has resulted in the creation of cottages and resorts in the hilly area. A hill so close to the city, Ponmudi hills makes it a perfect choice for travelers who look for small weekend getaways.

Those planning to visit Ponmudi, the time between November and March is highly recommendable.

West Bengal traveler
Sandakphu is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge where a traveller can enjoy the dazzling peaks of Everest and Kanchenjunga. Wikimedia Commons

2. Silent Valley National Park, Kerala

Another natural piece of wonder located in the godly lands of Kerala, Silent Valley National Park is the finest destination for every nature lover, ever existed. It offers the opportunity to be exposed to wild jungles and its wilderness enveloped by numerous adventurous activities.

Apart from the purest marvels of nature, this place offers rich history and grandeur and remains the largest tract of evergreen rain forests in the North-eastern corner of Palakkad district. The flow of river Kunthi that descends from the Nilgiri hills makes it a natural splendor and one may want to keep watching it, forever.

It is recommended to visit this park between December and April, as heavy rains from June till November makes it difficult to explore the beauty of this place.

3. Sandakphu, West Bengal

Situated at the peak of West Bengal, Sandakphu is the highest point of the Singalila Ridge where tourists can enjoy the dazzling peaks of Everest and Kanchenjunga as the first sunlight strikes the surface. River Teesta that flows through this place makes it a perfect destination for water-sport aficionados.

To enjoy all of these, one must trek around 8-10 km from Maneybhanjan. It will take around 12 hours to reach the finishing line. Although it sounds tiring, the activity will certainly make you feel refreshed when you finally reach the peak – the beautiful vantage point from where you can clearly view the natural wonders.

Best is to visit this place between October and January.

Himachal pradesh trekking traveler
If you’re a traveller seeking an adventurous trekking experience then you must visit Sar Pass in Himachal Pradesh. Pixabay

4. Jawai Hills, Rajasthan

Also known as the Leopard hills, Jawai is located in the Pali district of Rajasthan and is home to leopards and other wild animals such as chinkaras, jackals, hyenas, etc. It is also a place where you will find migratory birds aplenty. Apart from these, there is a Kalka Devi temple, where one can find the maximum leopards roaming around the caves and stairs.

Here one gets amazing options of Safari rides to relish the inner view of the wilderness and also peek into the lives of local people who live there. A wonderful place to find solitude, Jawai is a perfect destination for tourists who wish to chill and adventure, away from the hustle-bustle of the cities.

The best time to visit Jawai is between October and April to avoid humidity and enjoy chilly nights.

5. Sar Pass, Himachal Pradesh

When speaking of winter breaks, it is the thought of hill stations that first crosses our mind. One such hill station that meets all your trekking desires is Sar Pass. Perfectly nestled in the Pir Panjal mountain range, Sar Pass is completely surrounded by high-rise mountains, waterfalls, and lush green forest.

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Although very tough, it is still one of the best routes and longest treks (5-7 days) in Himachal Pradesh that offers great campsites with views never-seen-before. You can start the trek from Kasol, also known as Mini Switzerland, and relish the nature all across the way till you reach the zenith.

October is the best time to visit Sar Pass, but since it’s a winter trek, there is no harm in planning for the later months. (IANS)