Kalimpong, Sept. 13: The division of power between the district administration and the DGHC has come in the way of preparing a comprehensive assessment report on damage caused by rains in Kalimpong.
District officials claimed that they could do little other than report the loss of lives and property as most of the departments are under the council, which has been under a caretaker administrator for three years.
Not only that, the official compensation offered for loss of life and property is meagre. In case of a fully damaged house, the relief amount is Rs 4,000, while for a partially damaged one, it is Rs 2,000. Till September 8, 123 houses were completely damaged in the entire subdivision and another 171 suffered partial damage. “The compensation offered for loss of life is Rs 40,000,” said an official from the SDO’s office.
The damage is not limited to human lives and dwellings: roads have also been severely hit. “Since we have no say on roads maintained by the state PWD, DGHC and BRO, how can we prepare a comprehensive report on the damage where so many agencies are involved,” said the official.
The BRO, which maintains both NH 31A and Damding-Algarah-Reshi Road, said the damage from rains this year has amounted to crores of rupees. “But a comprehensive survey is needed before arriving at a figure,” said a BRO official.
Local GNLF MLA Gaulan Lepcha said a disaster management programme must be put in place first. Stating that the DGHC should ideally coordinate the programme, Lepcha admitted that nothing substantial could be done since the council has been lying defunct. “However, Dawa Pakhrin, (the GNLF’s Kalimpong unit president) has gone to discuss the issue with administrator Subash Ghisingh.”