An earthquake of moderate intensity of 5.6 on the Richter Scale rocked Assam on Sunday morning, aftershocks of which were felt across parts of North Bengal including Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar, leaving three injured in Kokrajhar and one in Siliguri.
Apart from Bengal, the earthquake, whose epicentre was at Kokrajhar in Assam about 20 km from of Basugaon town at a depth of 10 km, also shook Meghalaya, and neighbouring Bhutan at 6.35 am, according to India Meteorological Department officials.
Geeta Das, a housewife and resident of Dabgram in Siliguri, sustained a fracture while trying to rush out of her residence upon feeling the tremors and was later admitted to a city hospital .
A 40-year-old woman in Darjeeling, Thupu Dorma Sherpa, was also reported to be injured in an early morning landslide in Darjeeling. Authorities, however, said the landslide was caused due to incessant rains since Saturday night and not by the earthquake. “Tremors were felt at about 6.35 am and from the information we have received, this lady was killed in the landslide which happened much earlier. It must have been caused because of the strong rain since yesterday,” said Anurag Srivastava, District Magistrate, Darjeeling.
Cracks appeared on several buildings in Cooch Behar where people were seen rushing out of their houses on feeling the tremors. “The memories of what happened at Nepal are still fresh in our memories, which is why panic had spread. We ran out of our houses and came out in the open. The entire place was shaking for about six seconds,” said Kamal Mishra, a resident of Natabari Hat area in Cooch Behar.
P Ulaganathan, DM, Cooch Behar, however, said there was nothing to worry. “A tremor was felt but there have been no reports of damage to property or loss of lives. We will urge people not to panic,” he said.
District Magistrate of Jalpaiguri, Preetha Sarkar, too, said she had not issued any alert to avoid spread of panic. “I was away from the headquarters this morning so I didn’t have any personal experience of the quake, but from what I heard, there were shocks felt but it didn’t cause any damage to property or claim any casualty. Issuing an alert would have spread panic among people which is why we have avoided it,” she said.