The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shock and grief bond hill town
- Rescue operations on as welfare bodies join hands to offer succour to landslip victims

Darjeeling, Sept. 25: The hill town stood still as shocked residents paid homage to those killed in the landslide at Kazi Gaon yesterday.

Shops and business establishments in Toongsoong and Chowrastha spontaneously downed their shutters and most educational institutions declared a holiday to show respect to the eight people who were buried alive in the landslide that occurred around noon.

Rescue operations gained momentum during the day as students and residents of the area were seen helping rescue workers and collecting donations for the victims. The body of Rajesh Limbu, who went missing in the mishap yesterday, however, has not yet been recovered.

“We have already formed an emergency relief committee comprising members of 12 social organisations and are taking care of the victims,” said Tenzing Khambachay, president of the committee.

Each of the member bodies collected Rs 1,000 each and a sum of Rs 8,000 was sent for the treatment of four-year-old Shreya Tamang, who is fighting for her life at a Siliguri nursing home. The committee members are also tending to 40 people, who have been lodged in makeshift shelters at Toongsoong Primary School and Uday Pustakalaya. The Darjeeling Chamber of Commerce has also come forward to provide cooked food for the victims.

While the bodies of Kazi Ghimraj and his wife Khirod were laid to rest at the Alubari cemetery, the bodies of Laila, Sangeeta and Nikhil Tamang were taken to Pandam. The relatives of Pabitra and Sunita Tamang have taken the bodies to Lama Hatta for the last rites while the funeral of Aashish Lepcha is expected to take place tomorrow at Rajbari. The relief committee is looking into all the expenses incurred in the last rites of those killed.

Meanwhile, civic authorities moved into damage control mode and issued orders to dismantle the six-storeyed building (above the regulation height of 11.5 m) from where the landslip had started. Residents of the area alleged that loose earth thrown down while constructing the building had triggered the slide.

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