Days after multiple landslides hit Darjeeling district, authorities on Sunday said property worth at least Rs 50 crore has been damaged. This, even as the state government is still gathering data to ascertain the loss.
“Considering the houses damaged in our jurisdiction, the loss has been estimated to be around Rs 20 crore. But in areas under Gorkha Territorial Administration (GTA), houses have been demolished and bridges and roads maintained by PWD washed away. Overall, the loss figure will rise significantly and easily cross the Rs 50-crore mark. One bridge built by PWD alone will cost around Rs 10 crore in repair,” Darjeeling District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava said.
On July 1, landslides had hit Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, killing at least 40 people. Srivastava on Sunday said that while one more body was recovered, 10 people are still missing.
This comes a day after another landslide occurred near Kalijhora. But as there was no house in the area, no casualty or injury was reported.
As weather conditions have improved on Sunday after days of incessant rain, rescue work continued in full swing. Around 30 earthmovers have been engaged in removing debris. A part of the damaged NH-10 was also opened Sunday to establish a link between Kalimpong and Sikkim. PWD authorities have built a temporary bridge across Rakti river after the existing one was washed away and vehicles started plying on Sunday. Damaged roads in Kalimpong have also been restored for vehicular traffic.
Asked whether there was a chance of an outbreak of any epidemic, the DM said: “Doctors are visiting relief camps everyday. Additional toilets have been built and chlorinated drinking water is being served. Special care is being taken towards sanitation… All measures have been taken to stop an epidemic.”
“As many as 33 relief camps have been set up in the district, which are accommodating 3,100 people at present. Search operations will continue till we find the 10 people who are missing… We have been able to send relief materials to the remotest parts of the landslide-affected areas,” he added.
People who had taken shelter in the three relief camps in Tingling and Lamagaon villages following the landslides are gradually returning home, officials said. Around 200 to 250 families have been sheltered in those camps and now only those whose houses have been completely destroyed are staying in the camps.
The GTA has informed the Centre about the damages in the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong, said Kalimpong MLA and GTA member Harkha Bahadur Chhetri. “Around 400 houses have either been damaged or destroyed in the disaster,” Chhetri said.
GTA chief Bimal Gurung had on Saturday called up Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to provide an update on the disaster. The state government is also conducting an assessment of the landslide-battered districts and the report will be sent to the Centre.