Two persons were killed in landslides triggered by incessant rain that battered Sikkim, the Darjeeling hills and parts of the Dooars in the past 24 hours.
Normal life was disrupted when roads were blocked by debris which was brought by the landslides and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway services were suspended on Friday.
Babulal Rai, 59, was buried alive by a landslide at Puttabong Tea Garden in Vah-Tukar, Darjeeling. Rai was alone at home when mud and boulders came sliding down the hill and hit his house around 8 in the morning.
In Gyalshing district of Sikkim, four-year-old Avhiyan Chettri died when a landslide hit his house.
Sikkim chief minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) said ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh had already been handed over to the boy's family by the district administration. “Further, Rs 5 lakh will be given to the family from the chief minister’s relief fund,” said Golay.
The landslides affected road communication in the hills and Sikkim on Friday.
NH110 (formerly NH55) which connects Siliguri and Darjeeling was blocked near Rangbull for around two hours on Friday. As a result, there were traffic snarls. A portion of the highway caved in at St Mary’s in Kurseong.
“All affected roads have been cleared. Vulnerable people were shifted to safe places and given relief,” Darjeeling district magistrate S. Ponnambalam said.
Major link roads in Sikkim, from Namchi to Jorethang and Melli and from Jorethang to Melli, were blocked throughout Friday.
The DHR services were also suspended between New Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling after a number of landslides hit the tracks at various places.
“There were at least five spots — in between Sukna and Ghoom, along the 78km-long stretch of the DHR — which were affected after boulders and rubble came down on the tracks. We have suspended the regular services of the DHR because of the landslides,” a DHR official said.
The services will resume after the DHR technical experts inspect the affected spots on Saturday.
Several areas of Siliguri and Jalpaiguri towns were marooned because of the heavy rain on Friday. The respective civic bodies distributed relief to the residents affected by the water-logging.
Sources said Siliguri had received around 223mm of rainfall in the past 24 hours. Darjeeling and Soreng in Sikkim recorded showers of around 150mm and 107mm, respectively.