The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Damp weather warning for pujas
- Experts predict sporadic rain during festival

Siliguri, Sept. 21: A wet weather is likely to spoil the festival spirit of residents and puja organisers of north Bengal this year.

Weathermen predict humid climate with intermittent rain for the region as the puja is a fortnight ahead than last year’s.

“Although the monsoon lasts till the end of September in the rest of the country, in Bengal, especially in the sub-Himalayan North Bengal, the season continues to remain a week longer. And usually when the monsoon retreats, heavy showers occur here and there. So we can expect sporadic rainfall in the region during the pujas,” said Subir Sarkar, the in-charge of North Bengal University’s weather station.

“The temperature, too, will hover around 32 to 33 degrees Celsius — which is quite high — during the period which means muggy climate,” Sarkar said.

Suparna Banerjee, a housewife of Jalpaiguri, hopes for clear skies. “My son who studies in Bangalore is coming home after several months. We have planned family outings with him. But the roads here get dirty after rain. I’m praying for clear skies and dry weather so that we can enjoy the festival to the hilt,” she said.

Members of the Winners Club of the Nabagram Laketown area in Siliguri are praying for a bright weather too. The club has erected a pandal in the form of a Buddhist monastery that has been pasted with sand on the exterior.

“We want to give it a look of a sand castle but are apprehensive that the rain may play spoilsport. The decorators have, however, assured us that since the sand will be pasted on the pandal, it will withstand wet weather,” said Kartik Majumdar, the club secretary.

Intermittent rain in the past week has already taken a toll on the toy train service in the New Jalpaiguri-Darjeeling sector that was set to resume on September 18. “Heavy shower on Thursday and Friday night caused fresh landslides on the stretch between Rongtong and Tindharia. We couldn’t resume the toy train service till Kurseong as planned earlier. Under the circumstances, there has been no bookings for the pujas,” said Subrata Nath, the director of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Sanjay Goswami, the director of the KBS Tours and Travels, a travel agency that offers DHR ride packages, said in the past few years, they had organised Durga Puja on board the toy train from Tindharia to Darjeeling.

“This year too, we wanted to organise a similar celebration for tourists but the plan had to be shelved as toy train services have been cancelled because of landslides triggered by rain,” Goswami said.

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