Kolkata - At least 25 people have died due to floods in West Bengal that have affected 2.7 million people. The situation in parts of East Midnapore district deteriorated Saturday. "Twenty-five persons have died and over 2.7 million are affected due to floods till Saturday in West and East Midnapore districts," Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here.

East Midnapore district officials said there was no sign of water receding in Bhagavanpur, Chandipur, Kontai, Patashpur I and II, Egra and Panskura I and II blocks.

Rescue operations were being carried out at Contai, Egra and Patashpur, they said.

The situation improved in the other affected district - West Midnapore, though Pingla and Sabong areas continued to be marooned.

"Water is receding in major areas of the district. But Pingla and Sabong areas are still inundated," West Midnapore district magistrate N.S. Nigam told IANS.

Army and air force personnel continued relief and rescue operations in the two districts.

"Over 31 tonnes of relief materials have been provided to the flood victims by army boats and helicopters till Saturday," a defence spokesman said.

The state government Saturday asked the Indian Air Force to stop air drops of food, he said, adding that the air force had now diverted its helicopters to neighbouring Orissa, which too is battling floods.

Secretariat officials said the government would henceforth use boats to take relief supplies to the affected people.

Long distance trains through South Eastern Railways' Kharagpur-Orissa section continued to be suspended as the flood water damaged the tracks.

A railway spokesperson said no specific date could be given for resumption of the services.