Rescue Ops Underway in Darjeeling, Fresh Landslide Reported


Darjeeling: Rescue operations were underway in three subdivisions of Darjeeling district where multiple landslides have claimed 38 lives besides washing away highways and damaging homes.

A fresh landslip was on Thursday reported at Gayabari, 56 km from Darjeeling, cutting off the road link between Darjeeling and Mirik which alone had accounted for 21 deaths in yesterday’s landslides, an official of West Bengal’s Disaster Management Department said.

With no rains lashing the hills today, National Disaster Response Team, Civil Defence personnel and local volunteers began rescue work in the affected areas today. Rescue teams from the Sashastra Seema Bal and the National Disaster Management Authority have also been pressed into service.

The landslides in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong sub-divisions had caused extensive damage to NH-10 and NH-55, cutting off vital road links to the region. Efforts were on to clear the roads to facilitate the return of the tourists to the plains. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had rushed to Siliguri from Murshidabad yesterday, told reporters last night that the Disaster Management Group of the state was doing a good job.

The Chief Minister said she would take a decision about visiting the natural calamity-affected spots only if it did not disturb the ongoing rescue operation. The Chief Minister had announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased in landslides.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased and deputed Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju to rush to the area. A central team, headed by Rijiju, had visited the landslide-hit areas in Kurseong yesterday and took stock of the rescue and relief operations.

Rijiju visited relief camps in Tingling area under Kurseong sub-division, where hundreds of people were rendered homeless after the disaster, and met the injured in hospitals.