Heavy rains to continue lashing Darjeeling

Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills, where rain-triggered massive landslides claimed at least 30 lives, will continue to witness “widespread and heavy” downpour in the next 48 hours, the Met Office said on Thursday.

“Widespread rain is likely in almost all places in Darjeeling in the next 48 hours (till Saturday morning). Heavy rain is expected in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar districts and the adjoining state of Sikkim,” an official at the regional Met Office in Alipore said.

The toll is likely to go up as many people are trapped beneath the debris.

Besides the string of landslides which has wreaked havoc in Darjeeling district, the heavy rainfall has also led to Jalpaiguri district getting inundated with most of the rivers overflowing and the Teesta barrage releasing over 5,000 cusecs of water.

Over 2,000 people have been moved to safer places, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who rushed to the affected region on Wednesday night, said.

The landslides have severely affected national highways 31 and 10, snapping road links with Sikkim and leading to many tourists getting stranded.

Telecom and electricity services were badly affected, too.

Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju reached the region Wednesday evening to take stock of the situation.

While the Centre rushed two teams of the National Disaster Response Force, personnel of the Sashastra Seema Bal and the Indian Army were engaged in relief and rescue operations.

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