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Thunderstorm lashes city, several Bihu pandals destroyed

The uprooted pandal of the Latasil Bihu Sanmilani following the thunderstorm that lashed Guwahati, on Wednesday. – AT Photo
 GUWAHATI, April 17 - Several Bihu pandals were damaged in the thunderstorm that lashed the city late last night, causing loss of lakhs of rupees to Bihu organisers.

“For the first time in my life, I noticed such devastation at Latasil Bihu Sanmilani. For the last 39 years, I have been a member of this Bihu committee. Thunderstorms are routine at this time of the year and the damage has always been minor. But this time around, the destruction is unprecedented,” adviser to the Latasil Bihu Sanmilani, Kailash Sarma, told The Assam Tribune. Both the stage and the pandal were damaged in the thunderstorm.

Sarma said that thousands of people were watching a cultural programme at the Latasil playground when the thunderstorm raged. However, no person was injured in the ensuing melee.

“We repaired the stage this morning, but the pandal is still to be re-erected,” Sarma added.

Meanwhile, Madan Chandra Das, general secretary of the Pandu Bihu Sanmilani, Maligaon, said, “Around 20-25 people suffered minor injuries during the storm last night as high-speed wind uprooted the whole pandal within no time. Even iron pipes used in erecting the pandal got bent under the impact of the windstorm.”

Large-scale damage was also reported from the Noonmati Bihu Sanmilani where the organising committee has decided to carry out the next scheduled programmes on the open stage.

Madhuranjan Nath, president of the Bihu Sanmilani, said both the stage and the pandal were damaged in last night’s thunderstorm. Some damage also took place at Pub Guwahati Bihu Sanmilani currently under way at the Assam Engineering Institute playground in Chandmari.

According to Kaustav Talukdar, programme officer of the District Disaster Management Authority, Kamrup Metro, a large number of trees were uprooted in various parts of Guwahati during the storm.

“As per reports available till this evening, trees were uprooted at Latasil, Maligaon, Bhangagarh, Beltola, Garbhanga, Chandrapur and Azara area during the thunderstorm. But no casualties and damage of houses have been reported yet,” Talukdar said.

Meanwhile, the district administration has started a survey of all polling stations in Kamrup Metro election district to ascertain if any damage took place during the thunderstorm.

Kamrup Metro DC Biswajit Pegu informed The Assam Tribune that all booth-level officers and authorities concerned of office and school buildings where polling for the Lok Sabha elections would take place, have been directed to report any possible damage due to the storm.

“We have not got any adverse report from any polling station as yet. We will take immediate measures if any damage is reported,” Pegu said.

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