Landslides snap Siliguri-Gangtok road link

Siliguri, June 18 (IANS) Land communication between Sikkim’s capital Gangtok and its railhead Siliguri was snapped and the toy train service between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling disrupted on Thursday following landslides in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, officials said.

Also, one person died when he was struck by lightning in Mirik block in Darjeeling.

Following heavy rainfall in the Darjeeling hills, there were three landslides at three spots on National Highway 31A, considered the lifeline of Sikkim.

Darjeeling district disaster management official Anindya Sarkar said there were at least five landslides including three on the national highway.

Civil defence personnel, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and district administration workers were engaged in efforts to reopen the vital road link by cutting down trees and removing boulders.

Tourists were stranded as a landslide occurred at Sevoke and 29 Mile in Kalimpong sub-division.

There was a long queue of stranded vehicles.

Traffic movement was also affected on National Highway 55 as a tree was uprooted at Rongtong in Kurseong sub-division.

Another landslide at Paglajhora disrupted running of the heritage train Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the toy train.

Several rivers in north West Bengal were in spate following heavy rain.

The yellow warning signal has been hoisted from 10 a.m. on Thursday from Jalpaiguri district’s Domohoni to the Bangladesh border due to the swelling of the Teesta river.

North Bengal Flood Control Commission sources said the water levels in the Mahananda and other rivers in the region were on the rise.

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