Millennium Post

Massive landslides halt vehicular traffic on NH-10, railway services hit

Darjeeling: The National Highway 10 to Sikkim was blocked on Thursday owing to a massive landslide at Setijhora. Incessant rains have also inundated parts of Dooars affecting railway services as well.

A massive landslide continued throughout most parts of the day rendering it difficult to clear debris on NH-10. "The slide began at 8 am and continued throughout the day. It rained heavily and in the afternoon when the showers subsided, we got three earth-movers and tried to clear the blockades. We expect to open up the road by Friday," stated a PWD official.

Serpentine traffic jams were formed on both sides of the slides. The district administration of Kalimpong issued an advisory for vehicles travelling from Kalimpong and Sikkim to Siliguri. Two routes were earmarked for these vehicles — Kalimpong-Teesta Bazar-Peshok-Jorebungalow- Kurseong- Siliguri; Kalimpong-Algarah-Lava-Gorubathan (Pandara More)—Damdim – Odlabari — Mongpong — Coronation Bridge — Sevok-Siliguri.

Meanwhile, search operations continued for the SUV that had fallen into River Teesta near the Coronation Bridge on Wednesday. Neither the passengers nor the driver along with the vehicle could be found. Rafts were also pressed into service by the NDRF. Akash Sharma, brother of missing Gaurav Sharma from Jaipur, arrived at the accident site. He stated that two others — Aman Garg and Gopal Narwan were present in the vehicle. He had spoken to them on the phone till Wednesday noon following which he lost contact.

According to him, the trip was an official trip to Gangtok and they were travelling from Bagdogra Airport to Gangtok. The vehicle was being driven by one Rakesh Rai of Bhanunagar, Siliguri. All four including the driver are missing. Incessant rainfall in Bhutan has resulted in a rise in the water level in most of the rivers flowing through North Bengal, mainly Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri districts. Large tracts have been inundated.

"Yellow" alert has been issued on River Teesta in Jalpaiguri. Banks of Sankosh river have started to erode. Many tea gardens in Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri namely in the Kumargram, Kalchini, Nagrakata and Malbazar areas are inundated.

Railway services between Alipurduar and Siliguri have been badly affected with many trains being cancelled or diverted. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) service between NJP and Darjeeling continues to be suspended owing to numerous landslides between Rongtong and Kurseong. A "red warning" has been issued by the Indian Meteorological Department for the Sub-Himalayan West Bengal region till July 14.

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