While a flood-like situation prevails in many parts of the plains of north Bengal, multiple landslides occurred in the hills of Darjeeling and Kalimpong district. Two persons died in landslides in Darjeeling while one was drowned in Dinhata in Cooch Behar District.
Incessant rainfall triggered landslides of different intensities throughout the hills. In Darjeeling town, landslides were reported at Gaddikhana, Bhoteydhaara- Singamari and Haridashatta. In Gadikhana area located in the heart of the town, a major landslide buried a house, killing 78-year-old Norbu Tamang.
Family members claim that Tamang was short of hearing. When the landslide occurred, they had called out to him. As his response was slow, he was buried as the house collapsed. Four families were affected in the landslides in Darjeeling.
Fifty-one- year-old Mankumari Rai was buried at Alubari under Jorebungalow police station in a landslide. A major landslide occurred at Sepoydhura, blocking National Highway 55 connecting the plains of Siliguri with Darjeeling. The Public Works Department was working on a war footing to clear the debris and open the road to traffic.
The ongoing indefinite bandh, which hit the 59th day mark, created a lot of hindrance to relief activities, reported the district administration authorities. "There is a shortage of staff owing to the bandh. We had to manage with Civil Defense volunteers and a few staff who had turned up to distribute relief material," said Darjeeling District Magistrate Joyoshi Das Gupta.
A huge number of people had turned up for tarpaulin sheets (the sheets are used to cover vulnerable areas to stop seepage of water in order to prevent land slips) at the Relief Department of the district administration. "We have a shortage of tarpaulin as stocks could not be replenished owing to the bandh. Drivers do not want to drive trucks up from SIliguri," added the DM.
The situation is equally grim in the plains of north Bengal, with a flood-like situation in most of the districts including Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Cooch Behar and Malda. In Balarampur in Dinhata sub-division of Cooch Behar, 23-year-old Prasenjit Roy was drowned.
The worst affected is Alipurduar district, with most rivers in spate. The Torsa, Sankosh, Raidak, Pana, Basra rivers are flowing at the yellow level mark. With Bhutan having released water of the Kaljani river, a red alert has been sounded. Kalchini block in Alipurduar too is on high alert.
Alipurduar received 180 mm rainfall in the last 24 hours and many tea gardens, including Kartik and Raidak, are submerged. Two hundred odd residents have taken refuge in two relief camps and parts of the road to Bhutan remain submerged.