30 killed in Darjeeling landslide; compensation announced

Siliguri/Kolkata, July 1 (IANS) At least 30 people were killed in landslides triggered by incessant rain in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills since late Tuesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Wednesday. Eight others were reported missing.

The landslides have badly affected National Highways 31 and 10, snapping the road link with Sikkim. The heavy rainfall also washed away the Rohini-Garidhura Bridge.

Landslides occurred at several places between Mongpong and Sevoke Kalibari, leaving people stranded on NH 31.

While the state government announced a compensation of Rs.4 lakh to the families of each of those killed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a grant of Rs.2 lakh each from the National Relief Fund.

Condoling the deaths, Modi wrote on Twitter that Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju was headed for the region to take stock of the situation.

Banerjee said: “Thirty people have died and eight people are missing in the landslide.”

“Of the 30 bodies recovered, 22 were from Mirik, six from Kalimpong and one each in Sukhiapokhri and Gorubathan areas of Darjeeling district,” said Banerjee.

Of the eight reported missing, six are from Mirik and two in Kalimpong, she added.

Banerjee assured all assistance to the affected people.

“Money can never compensate the loss of life. However, the state government has decided to pay Rs.4 lakh to the kin of those who have died and Rs.1.25 lakh to the injured. The government will provide all kind of assistance for the rehabilitation of those affected by the calamity,” she said.

In Jalpaiguri district, at least 5,000 people were affected by water-logging and their misery was compounded by the release of over 5,000 cusecs of water from the Teesta barrage.

The Jalpaiguri district administration has issued a red alert as the Teesta and Torsa rivers touched danger levels.

While the Sashastra Seema Bal and disaster management personnel were engaged in relief and rescue operations, North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb said the army had been called in to help in the rescue efforts.

Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force have also been rushed to the area.

 

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