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Darjeeling Administration notice to stop laying mobile companies cable lines till monsoon

underground mobile telecom cables in darjeeling hills
The Darjeeling district administration has asked mobile operators to stop laying cable lines in the hills till the end of monsoon in the wake of the devastating landslides that claimed 32 lives in Mirik and Kalimpong and displaced hundreds others. Post the July 1 landslides, a preliminary survey conducted by the administration together with the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, has identified the cables lines being laid in the hills as one of the major factors behind the mud slips.

On Tuesday, after an administrative and all party meeting to take stock of the situation, Darjeeling district magistrate Anurag Srivastav said, “We have asked the mobile operators who are laying their cable lines to immediately stop work in the hills till the monsoon gets over as a precautionary measure.”

The cables lines of various mobile operators are expected to improve connectivity but ironically, they have also become the bane of the hills. It has been found that the lines have been laid haphazardly on the roads and by-roads with some even blocking drains. Officials of the mobile companies operating in the hills however, could not be contacted for comment.

The executive engineers of the PWD department have also been asked to clear blocked drains under their jurisdictions and to strengthen weak patches. “We want to take all precautionary measures and also try to minimise landslide incidents. The roads and drains must be clear. I have asked the executive engineers to see to it,” said Srivastav.

Henceforth, the district administration will also assess construction of big structures before allowing implementation of the work. Further, the DM said a team from the Geological Survey of India would be arriving tomorrow to survey the affected and other areas of the hills. “I have not yet got details of their movement. But they will definitely visit Mirik and we will discuss about the places to visit,” said Srivastav.

The all-party meeting convened during the day and attended by various political parties of the hills was an exercise to share information and feedback, the DM said. “They (political parties) are better placed to get information. Today’s meeting was to share information and feedback after the disastrous landslides. We also shared information with the

parties about the various government schemes available for the benefit of the affected people,” Srivastav said adding the political parties could also give suggestions.

The administration has set up 43 relief camps where more than 3,000 people are taking shelter. The landslides have affected nearly 100,000 people, completely destroyed 503 and partially damaged 1,414 houses in Kurseong and Kalimpong. Assessment of the extent of damage to property is still in progress, with preliminary reports showing a loss of more than Rs27 crore, which does not include infrastructure such as roads, bridges and culverts, among others.(EOIC)

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