Landslide isolates Kalimpong villages

People of Nimbong and surrounding villages are facing the brunt of a landslide that shows no signs of stopping, threatening houses and disrupting road connectivity between the area and Kalimpong and other places in the plains.

By RAJEEV RAVIDAS in Kalimpong
  • Published 16.10.17
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The landslide that hit Nimbong

Kalimpong: People of Nimbong and surrounding villages are facing the brunt of a landslide that shows no signs of stopping, threatening houses and disrupting road connectivity between the area and Kalimpong and other places in the plains.

The landslide at a place called Zero, hardly half-a-kilometre from the Nimbong market, had first occurred in June 2015 and reoccurred right at the start of the monsoon this year.

The landslide, which remains active even today, has taken away almost a 400m stretch of the main road that connects the villages with Kalimpong and the plains, including Siliguri. Nimbong is about 30km from Kalimpong.

Anil Chhteri, a teacher at the local Anuj SUMI school, which is the branch of the Scottish Universities' Mission Institution (SUMI) based in Kalimpong town, said the landslide had swept away two houses and it was only a matter of time before another two more dwellings met the same fate. "The landslide also poses imminent threat to a church, the gram panchayat office and our school as well," he said.

The two houses that were washed away by the slide belong to Padam Chhetri and Haldar Rai, both farmers. "I could not even save a single plank of my house before it was completely destroyed by the slide. I also lost all my livestock like pigs and goats," he rued.

Both the Rai and Chhetri families are staying in temporary structures they set up in small corners of the farmland owned by their neighbours.

Padam lamented that apart from the hands of help extended by fellow villagers, they had not received any succour from any government agency. "Along with my house, I lost my entire farmland. We are forced to make ends meet by doing some odd jobs," he added.

Anil Chhetri said the villagers had recently written to Binay Tamang, the chairman of the GTA board of administrators, seeking his intervention in mitigating the problems faced by them. "We submitted a memorandum to the GTA chairman through Sanchabir Subba (a member of the board of administrators) highlighting our problems. We are hopeful something will be done at the earliest," he said.

Contacted, Subba, who hails from Nimbong, said steps would be taken to address the problem. "We had constructed an alternative road for four-wheelers last year, but it is very rough. Work is in progress to smoothen the road. The GTA will take steps to solve the problem caused by the landslide and also render help to those who have lost their houses," he assured.

Because of the landslide, farmers on either side of the landslide cannot take their produce, including maize, millet and vegetables, to Kalimpong and places in the plains. "While farmers of villages like Mansidhura, Bahungaon and Gantidara cannot take their vegetables to Kalimpong, those from Dalapchand, Pemling, Bigha and Soryaksha can't travel to places like Bakrakote and Odlabari in the plains because the alternative routes are circuitous," said Chhetri.