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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Teesta rises with monsoon, Darjeeling road inundated: Landslides block paths in Sikkim

As water levels of the river rose, it inundated the road that connects Darjeeling with Kalimpong at Teesta Bazar and also flooded some of the houses located nearby

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 21.06.24, 08:08 AM
The Teesta river flows over the Darjeeling-Kalimpong road at Teesta Bazar on Thursday

The Teesta river flows over the Darjeeling-Kalimpong road at Teesta Bazar on Thursday Picture Passang Yolmo

The southwest monsoon which is vigorously active over sub-Himalayan Bengal and the neighbouring state of Sikkim brought fresh rainfall during the past 24 hours and swelled the Teesta since Wednesday night.

As water levels of the river rose, it inundated the road that connects Darjeeling with Kalimpong at Teesta Bazar and also flooded some of the houses located nearby. As a result, traffic along the road was stopped and the direct connectivity between the two hill towns snapped for the second day within a week.

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NH10, considered the lifeline for Sikkim and Kalimpong as it connects these places with Siliguri, however, was open throughout the day. Minor landslides occurred in some places but the debris was soon cleared by excavators engaged by the Bengal PWD.

“In some places like Likhuvir, vehicles are moving in single file. Also, some stretches like Melli need repairs as the Teesta is eroding earth from the side of the road,” said a source.

As the downpour continued throughout the region, Mangan, the sole district located in the north of Sikkim, continued to bear the brunt of landslides.

On Thursday, a status of road connectivity across the mountain state revealed that Mangan, the district headquarters, is cut off from Chungthang, a junction from where two roads head for Lachen and Lachung, both popular spots for tourists.

“The connectivity to Chungthang from Mangan via Toong has snapped due to multiple landslides. On the other hand, it is also not possible to reach Chunthang from Mangan via Sangkalang as a bridge has been washed away,” said an official.

He also mentioned that landslides have also blocked the roads from Chungthang to Lachen and Lachung.

The downpour and the slides have also caused damage in other districts like Pakyong and Namchi. The state has constituted teams to inspect the areas and assess the damage.

“We have been facing nature’s fury since October last year when the flash flood occurred in Teesta due to the outburst of South Lhonak Lake. This year, we suffered again as the monsoon started. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hope that tourists visit the state,” said Nima Lama, who runs a tour agency in Sikkim.

In Mangan, as the Teesta has swept away the bridge at Sangkalang, transportation of essential items to Dzongu and some other areas has become crucial.

To address the issue, a zip line has been built at Sangkalang to facilitate the transfer of materials. A team of engineers has taken the task to build the line along with residents of Dzongu and Chandey.

“Cables have been laid but some additional work has to be done. We expect the zip line will be ready by Friday morning,” said an official of Mangan district.

The regional Met office in Gangtok has forecast more showers in coming days.

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