Hari Sarkar Colony in Jalpaiguri under water on Wednesday. Picture by Biplab Basak
Alipurduar, July 23: A five-year-old bridge over the Basra is in danger of being washed away, while the river is also threatening to bring down the boundary wall of the air force base in Hasimara located around 1km upstream.
The water levels of a number of rivers in the Alipurduar subdivision have risen because of incessant rain from last night.
The worst affected gram panchayat areas are Satali, Mendabari and Dalshingpara, all located in the Kalchini block.
The central pillar of Binod Bridge over the Basra has sunk into the riverbed. As a result, the two sections of the bridge’s horizontal span are hanging precariously, forcing authorities to stop the movement of vehicles.
Everyday, at least 5,000 people cross the bridge, located nearly 40km from Alipurduar town. It is the only way the 20,000 people living in Satali gram panchayat can get to Kalchini, Hamiltongunj and Alipurduar.
The Jalpaiguri Zilla Parishad had constructed the bridge in 2003.
Around 1km away, the river is also threatening to breach the boundary wall of the air force base. More alarmingly, the Torsha, which flows on the other side of the base, is also in spates.
Atul Subba, the sabhapati of the Kalchini panchayat samiti, said: “Once the Torsha’s water enters Ran Bahadur Bastee, it will flood Beech Tea Garden and the air force base. The residents of the area are spending sleepless nights. Already many people in nearby Dalshingpara have lost their fields.”
The road network in the Kalchini block is also in disarray. Apart from Binod Bridge, a number of other bridges and culverts have been affected. In Mendabari, located more than 35km from Alipurduar town, a culvert on the Basra has been washed away. The 6-metre-long structure was constructed last year for Rs 24 lakh. The river has also destroyed two wooden bridges in the area.
Water of the Bhandari river, on the other hand, is touching a culvert on NH31C in Mendabari. The structure can be washed away at any moment, said residents of the area.