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Incessant rain, strong wind claimed one life in Darjeeling

Umbrella in Darjeeling Chowrastha
Incessant rain accompanied by strong wind since the past two days claimed one life and uprooted several electricity poles in Darjeeling and blocked the National Highway 10 near Sethikhola due to landslides, cutting off Sikkim’s arterial link.
On Sunday morning in Ghoom family members retrieved the body of Phupu Doma Bhutia 45 from a shanty in which she was living. Apparently, Bhutia was killed by a loose boulder from the hillock just above her shanty.
“The accident may have happened in the night as it has been raining continuously. This morning at around 5.30, we discovered that huge boulders had fallen on top of the wooden structure where she used to sleep. We found her dead,” said Bhutti Bhutia, the niece of the
Police sources said Bhutia used to live alone in the shanty which is located just besides a building at the Old Monastery Road in ward no. 1 which belongs to her family members. It is learnt that the deceased would have her meals with the family and then retire alone in
her shanty-like adjacent structure just on the roadside.
The body was sent for post mortem at the Darjeeling district hospital and later handed over to the family for last rituals.
Incessant rainfall caused landslides at different stretches of NH 10 (previously NH 31A) that connects Sikkim and Kalimpong with the plains. Landslides triggered huge boulders to fall on to the road below in places like Sethijhora, 27th Mile and Likhubhir on NH 10 which is under the Kalimpong sub-division and which leads to Sikkim.
“We have cleared the road where boulders had fallen. The 50 metres of the road at Sethijhora which was blocked since Thursday is also open but only for small vehicles, however boulders are continuing to fall because of the rain. Our men are camped at the sit with excavators and other heavy equipment and are clearing the road,” said an official of the Border Road Organization (BRO) that maintains the highway.
The Darjeeling Hills is experiencing heavy rainfall for the last couple of days. On Saturday night cyclonic wind accompanied with rain damaged and uprooted several electricity poles and trees in the upper areas leaving Darjeeling town in darkness.
The power department has started work in a war footing to restore electricity of the town. “Last night’s wind and rain uprooted several poles and trees in and around the town area. We have already started restoration work but the continuous rainfall is creating obstacles.
However, we have managed to restore electricity and supplying them in phases,” said an official of the power department, not wanting to be named.
Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastav said: “One person died in Ghoom due to last night’s landslide. Most of the roads leading
to and fro from the hills to the plains are open. However, the NH 10 remains an issue but work is in progress to clear it at the earliest.”  According to the record of the relief department, Darjeeling sub-division received 103 mm of rain in the last 24 hours, whereas,
the sub-divisions of Kalimpong and Kurseong received 56 mm 22.1 mm of rainfall, respectively.(EOIC)

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