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Tremor brings back fear in Darjeeling Hills

A family from Pune leaves Darjeeling after the tremors on Tuesday
DARJEELING: Schools and government offices shut early after the quake struck the Hills on Tuesday. The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA), which has set up a 24-hour control room with helpline numbers, said they had not received any information about loss of life or property damage.

Heads of institutes asked parents to take their children home immediately after the first tremor was felt at 12.36pm. "Luckily, it was lunchtime and kids were outside their classes, so there was no panic. But we did not want to take a risk," said Geraldine Moktan, principal of

The scene was similar at the Darjeeling DM premises, where employees scampered out of their offices and scared by the intensity of the tremor, many refused to return. "I was working when my chair started shaking. It immediately struck me that it must be an earthquake and I ran outside," said Puran Rai, an employee at the DM's office.

"As there were repeated tremors, many refused to return to office out of fear, as is normal when something like this happens," said Darjeeling DM Anurag Srivastav. He added that some people from across the district had to be taken to hospitals with minor injuries but they were later discharged. "We have not yet received any report of damage to properties," Srivastav said.

Most tourists chose to spend the day outdoors. "Shop shutters at Chowrasta rattled violently. I wanted to stay here till Thursday but now, I will have to rethink," said Debasish Nayak from Dakshineshwar. But another tourist Tanmoy Chatterjee, said, "An earthquake cannot be predicted. I was worried for my children, that's all. I will stay in the hills till May 16 and will come back again". Unlike after the April 25 quake, not too many hotel bookings have been cancelled yet but an air of uneasiness prevailed. (TOI)

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