Rain snaps rail and road links in Dooars

Rail and road links were snapped and many rivers rose in several parts of the Dooars because of heavy rain across sub-Himalayan north Bengal and Sikkim since Sunday afternoon.

By OUR BUREAU
  • Published 11.09.18
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Residents of Champasari in Siliguri wade through water on Monday. Picture by Passang Yolmo

Siliguri: Rail and road links were snapped and many rivers rose in several parts of the Dooars because of heavy rain across sub-Himalayan north Bengal and Sikkim since Sunday afternoon.

The swollen rivers inundated areas along the banks and tea gardens. Two persons have died in rain-related incidents.

The downpour continued throughout Monday and India Meteorological Department has warned of more showers in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts and Sikkim in the next few days.

At some places like Murti and Nagrakata, it rained over 320mm in 24 hours, that is till Monday morning.

Siliguri recorded a rainfall of 260mm, while Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri received around 130mm showers.

"An upper air trough is running from eastern Bihar till Nagaland. This is leading to strong incursion of moisture from northern Bay of Bengal, causing enhanced rainfall in north Bengal and Sikkim. It seems weather conditions will remain so for the next couple of days and there can be more rainfall, which might be around 200mm or even more at some places," said a source in the IMD.

The Hati Nala, a stream flowing through Banarhat, has risen and washed away the soil under the railway tracks between Carron and Banarhat stations. A stretch of tracks was submerged, prompting the authorities to halt train movement in the Dooars. The tracks connect Siliguri Junction with Jalpaiguri.

"The incessant rain damaged a railway embankment on Sunday night. As a result, we have cancelled seven local trains, while another train has been short-terminated at Alipurduar Junction. Four long-distance trains have been diverted via New Cooch Behar-Dhupguri-Jalpaiguri Road-New Jalpaiguri route. After repairs, we could restore train movement around 3pm today (Monday)," said P.J. Sharma, the chief public relation officer of the Northeast Frontier Railway.

A speed restriction of 10kmph has been imposed on trains along the affected stretch, he added.

The Hati Nala spilled over the banks and flooded the market, health centre and the telephone exchange in Banarhat. People had to wade through waist-deep waters to reach safe places.

In Nagrakata, a stream overflowed and washed away a culvert on a road that connects with NH31C. People have to take turnaround routes to access the highway.

Some other localities like Luksan, Nandu More, Pradhanpara, Laljhamelabusty and Kalikhola in Nagrakata block were submerged by overflowing rivers and streams.

In Malbazar block, a stream flowed over a bridge, disrupting connectivity between Changmari and Malbazar. The Leesh river breached a part of the embankment and flooded Saogaon Busty in Bagrakote panchayat.

Officials of Jalpaiguri district administration held a meeting to take stock of the situation.

"Water has started receding from Banarhat, Gayerkata, Nagrakata and some areas of Malbazar block in the afternoon. We have flood shelters ready to accommodate people in case they need to shift. The block administration is also making arrangements to serve cooked food among affected families," said Shilpi Gourisaria, the district magistrate of Jalpaiguri.