Monday, 30th October 2017

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Landslides hit roads to Sikkim and Dooars

Landslides in the past 24 hours on two key highways linking Gangtok, Kalimpong and the Dooars with Siliguri have hit traffic, with the travel taking longer because of clearing operations and forced detours.

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 14.09.18
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The stretch of NH-10 after the cave-in on Thursday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Gangtok/Siliguri: Landslides in the past 24 hours on two key highways linking Gangtok, Kalimpong and the Dooars with Siliguri have hit traffic, with the travel taking longer because of clearing operations and forced detours.

The two affected roads are NH-10, which links Kalimpong and Sikkim, and NH-31C that connects the Dooars. Heavy downpour has been blamed for the landslides.

A 20m stretch caved in on NH-10 on Thursday at 29 Mile, around 70km from Gangtok. An entire portion has been wiped away on NH-31C. On Tuesday, a landslide on NH-31C at Mongpong had devoured a portion of the highway.

Vehicles going uphill and those heading towards Siliguri had to take a detour of 50-60km. "We were coming from Sikkim and had a flight at 6pm from Bagdogra. We had to cross the stretch on foot and scout for vehicles on the other side," a tourist said.

A PWD official said excavators had to be used to cut the hillside to broaden the road and enable heavy vehicles to pass. Also, the void that has formed after the cave-in needs to be filled up so that the road can be rebuilt.

"We are not very sure whether traffic movement would be possible when repairs will start. Given the importance of this highway, the repairs cannot be delayed," added the official.

Vishwanath, the district magistrate of Kalimpong, said the incessant rain was slowing repairs. "As the rains have not stopped, the soil is not firming up. This is why repairs are getting delayed."