Slides shut Sikkim road link, kill one

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Source: Telegraph India

Slides shut Sikkim Road
A boulder that fell on NH10. (Chinlop Fudong Lepcha)

Kalimpong/Darjeeling, Aug. 22: A landslide triggered by heavy rains at Likhubir on NH10, the main road link between Sikkim and Siliguri, shut the highway for over 17 hours since early this morning.

A single lane of the highway was, however, re-opened around 9.30pm.

A woman was killed and two others were injured near Sukhiapokhri when a slide damaged two houses last night.

Indira Rai, 45, from Samripani village in Sukhiapokhri, 20km from Darjeeling, had gone to her neighbour Reena Mukhia’s house when boulders started rolling down a hillside around 8.30pm.

Rai died on the spot and Reena and her daughter, Abishna, 10, were injured. “They have been admitted to the Sadar hospital,” Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastava said.

The house adjacent to Reena’s was damaged as well.

Sources said the rain started around 6pm yesterday and continued for several hours, triggering at least 10 landslides across the hills. The slide at Likhubir, 18km from Kalimpong, occurred about 4am today.

With NH10 shut, vehicles travelling on the Siliguri-Sikkim and Siliguri-Kalimpong routes took detours via Lopchu-Peshok, Lava-Damdim and Mungpoo. The distance between Kalimpong and Siliguri through NH10 is 65km. The alternative roads are almost double the distance. By afternoon, there was a queue of heavy vehicles stretching to about 1km on either side of Likhubir.

An official at the Bengal public works department that maintains NH10 said: “We had been working round-the-clock. We could clear the road and restore traffic around 9.30pm.”

India Meteorological Department sources said Darjeeling district recorded 74.6mm rain in 24 hours from 8.30am yesterday and there might be more rain or thundershowers in the next 24 hours.

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