Emphasising that the ratification of Kalimpong as a new district was “for development”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced two vital projects — a “Rs 220-crore road link to Sikkim” along the ancient Silk Route that is vital for Kalimpong and Sikkim, and a water supply project worth Rs 50 crore to address the scarcity of the vital resources in the area.
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“A Rs 220-crore road link project will be taken up to connect Kalimpong with Sikkim via the old Silk Route,” announced Mamata. Incessant rain during monsoons annually triggers landslides in the area, damaging roads and consequently isolating Sikkim from the mainland. “The NH-55 connects Siliguri and Darjeeling, and the NH-31 and NH-31A links Gangtok with Kalimpong. Landslides in this area happen every year, and consequently, everything from supplies to tourism and revenue is impacted in both areas,” said an officer of the Darjeeling disaster management authority.
Kalimpong requires around 10 lakh gallons of water every day, and half of the need is met by the Neora Khola scheme. Around 7,500 households receive water for about half an hour every second or third day, depending on the availability of water, officials said.
“The remaining 50 per cent of the 1 lakh-odd residents of Kalimpong and adjoining villages depend on natural springs and streams to meet their water needs,” an official added.
Mamata also announced that her government was planning a Rs 50-crore water supply project by the public health engineering department, which will be taken up soon.
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