Darjeeling landslides: Rescue operations nearing end

Siliguri, July 7 (IANS) Rescue operations in landslide-hit Darjeeling hills in West Bengal may be over in another two-three days, an official said here on Tuesday.

“We are apprehensive that more bodies can be recovered in the ongoing rescue operations and it may be over after two-three days,” officer-in-charge of the district disaster management cell Anindya Sarkar said.

He said a favourable weather in the hills is aiding the rescue operations.

Thirty-five bodies have been recovered till Tuesday noon. Eight people are still missing.

However, several sections of NH-10 connecting Gangtok and Siliguri have been damaged and some time would be needed for repairing them.

The damage is critical especially in Sheti Jora, around 7.5 km away from Siliguri on NH10, where another landslide has been predicted in the ongoing monsoons.

“It will take time to restore the road (NH-10) and until the monsoons are over the situation may not improve,” an official in the district cell had said earlier.

However, the official said that the vehicles are plying under risky conditions in some pockets of the highway.

The General Reserve Engineering Force is carrying out the highway restoration and repair works.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the state disaster management department and the army are jointly carrying out the rescue works.

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