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Hailstorm havoc in Dalsingpara estate

Alipurduar May 14: More than 400 labour quarters on Dalsingpara Tea Estate and tea bushes spread over 100 hectares were damaged during a 10-minute hailstorm yesterday evening.

The storm uprooted shade trees in the garden and many other trees along SAARC Road that connects Hashimara to Bhutan blocking it for more than two hours from 8.15pm.

Around 5pm, a thunderstorm hit the garden at Kalchini and later at 8pm, a hailstorm wrecked havoc.

The management had pegged the total loss at Rs 60 lakh.

“We have faced a loss of at least Rs 60 lakh and 60,000kg of green leaves (stocked near the garden factory) have been damaged. More than 200 shade trees were uprooted, crops were damaged in an area of 100hectares and more than 450 labour quarters were partially or completely damaged. The hailstorm lasted for only 10 minutes but it was very powerful,” manager N.K. Singh said.

The tin roofs of the ICDS centres on the estate and a portion of the garden factory shed were blown away in the storm that was followed by rain.

Other than the garden, Gopal Bahadur Basti, Naya Line and Station Line areas were also affected.

Around 30 houses were damaged and over 50 shade trees uprooted at Mohua tea garden close to Dalsingpara tea estate.

Electric supply is yet to be restored in many areas.

Around 10pm yesterday, local people chopped off the branches of the uprooted trees to clear SAARC Road.

Chandra Sen Khati, the block development officer of Kalchini, visited Dalsingpara today. “We will provide relief to the affected people. Officials of the power department are trying to restore the supply.”

In another storm that had hit Alipurduar subdivision on Sunday, one person was killed and at least 10 were injured.

Monu Thakur, 19, died at Lankapara in Madarihat-Birpara block when a tree fell on him. Thousands of electric poles were uprooted and over 1,000 houses were damaged by the strong winds. Uprooted trees had blocked NH31C for several hours.

In Cooch Behar, around 150 huts had been damaged in a storm on Sunday.