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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Hailstorm followed by heavy rain in Alipurduar drills holes in roofs of 1,200 homes

In the past 15 days, this is the second time that a natural calamity has hit the district. On March 31, a mini-tornado had hit some parts of Alipurduar along with Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. Around 100 families had turned homeless in the wake of the natural disaster

Our Correspondent Alipurduar Published 18.04.24, 12:52 PM
The tin roof of a workers’ home in Rydak tea estate in Kumargram block of Alipurduar district that got perforated by hail on Tuesday night.

The tin roof of a workers’ home in Rydak tea estate in Kumargram block of Alipurduar district that got perforated by hail on Tuesday night. Picture by Anirban Choudhury

A sudden bout of hailstorm, followed by heavy rain, in Kumargram block of Alipurduar on Tuesday night damaged at least 1,200 workers’ quarters and tea plantations spread over 900 hectares.

In the past 15 days, this is the second time that a natural calamity has hit the district. On March 31, a mini-tornado had hit some parts of Alipurduar along with Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar. Around 100 families had turned homeless in the wake of the natural disaster.

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“The hailstorm occurred on Tuesday night and damaged the tin roofs of 1,200 workers’ quarters in Rydak and Kartick tea estates of Kumargram block. Some people also suffered minor injuries. Around 900 hectares of tea plantation were damaged by the hailstorm. We have written to the district administration, seeking necessary steps,” said Chinmoy Dhar, the chairman of the north Bengal branch of the Tea Association India.

The hailstones started dropping around 10pm. Their impact caused numerous holes on the tin roofs of the quarters as workers stood helplessly. “The women, along with children, took shelter under the cots to save themselves from hailstones. After that, heavy rain drenched them and their belongings,” said an employee of Rydak tea estate.

Sunita Dilwar, who lives in Rydak tea estate, was at home with her 11-year-old daughter. “Whatever little foodgrain we had got soaked. Utensils got damaged. So did the books and notebooks of my daughter. We suffered a big loss,” she said.

Trinamool Congress workers of the area — Kumargram is the home constituency of party candidate Prakash Chik Baraik, reached the gardens and stood in support of the families. On Wednesday, Baraik visited both gardens.

“Wednesday was the last day of my campaign as Alipurduar votes on April 19. But as I heard about the natural calamity, I cancelled some events, went to the gardens and met the families. The administration has started distributing relief items,” he said.

R. Vimala, the district magistrate, said they gave tarpaulin and food to the families.

Many are scared by the forecast of rain and hailstorm in next few days in Alipurduar. “We don’t know if a tarpaulin can save us,” said a resident.

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