Incessant rains in Darjeeling hills have caused landslides in Darjeeling and Mirik, damaging vast stretches of National Highway 10 leading to Sikkim. The continuous rains have damaged stretches of NH10, the lifeline of Sikkim, on the Kalijhora route near Siliguri halting traffic for hours, a report from Gangtok said. Darjeeling District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava said a road leading to a temporary bridge over the Rakti near Garidhura was washed away yesterday as the stream overflew because of constant rains since Tuesday last.
The damage snapped the direct link between Siliguri and Mirik. Vehicles coming downhill from Kurseong to Siliguri and those travelling between Mirik and Siliguri have been forced to take a detour of over 25 km through Panighata Road via Bagdogra to reach their destination.
“Officials of the state PWD have visited the site and initiated necessary work to restore the approach road,” the Darejeeling DM said. The damaged stretch near Garidhura is around 15km from here. Last monsoon, a bridge on the Rakti stream had been damaged and after that, the temporary bridge was built.
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According to a Gangtok report, the Kalijhora route has been blocked due to continuous rainfall that has washed away and damaged major sections of the NH 10. The damaged stretch was 3 km ahead of Coronation Bridge near Kalijhora that has been totally washed out. Vehicles towards Sikkim were now being diverted through other alternate routes via Darjeeling and Teesta and Kalimpong-Monsong-Rangpo or Kalimpong-Melli-Rangpo route.
As per an official report from the border town Rangpo light vehicles especially cars from Siliguri were being allowed to pass slowly since this morning. At the bus and taxi stands of Rangpo, Singtam and Gangtok in Sikkim, long queues of anxious passengers were seen waiting for taxis from Siliguri. City cabs were also not easily available, hampering easy travel for travellers.