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Darjeeling, Sikkim on the edge, Water, water everywhere, Landslide warning issued for hills

Massive landslide at setikhola, setijhora Water, water everywhere: Landslide warning issued for hills
Darjeeling, which is still recovering from a spate of massive landslides that led to death of 40 people a fortnight back, is still on the edge.

As rain continues to lash the hills, the regional meteorological department warned that there could be further landslides in the area. The Geological Survey of India (GSI), too, issued a caution.

The Met office in Kolkata, which predicted heavy rain and landslides for the entire hill region, said heavy downpour could result in more landslides. Reconstruction of a number of roads that were badly hit by the landslides could be affected.

“We’re expecting heavy to very heavy rain in Darjeeling and few other districts in North Bengal over the next few days. Darjeeling, in particular, will experience very heavy rain and thundershowers. This will increase the threat of landslides,” said GC Debnath, director of the regional Met  department  in Kolkata. Met officials made similar predictions for Sikkim, which is equally prone to landslides.

A senior Met department official here said while the monsoon trough has already become “hyperactive” in this part of the country due to a recent depression over the Bay of Bengal, a fresh trough of low-pressure, extending from eastern Bihar to Bay of Bengal, has also formed.

These two together will trigger heavy rain in northern districts of Bengal, the official said.
Darjeeling and Sikkim witnessed massive landslides on July 1 when land slips snapped crucial road links connecting the hills to the plains.

While at least five major land slips affected movements across Darjeeling Hills, Sikkim was virtually cut off from the plains for almost a week. GSI experts pointed out that Darjeeling and Sikkim have always been prone to landslides because of weak and sensitive slope-forming materials, joints and fissures on hills, tectonic uplift and steep slopes.

Rampant mining and construction activities have also played a major part in destabilising the hill region.

“Most of the major landslides in Darjeeling have occurred either between June and July or during September-October. These landslides have all been triggered by heavy rain,” said a senior geologist from GSI’s Geohazards Research & Management Cell, Kolkata.

Kolkata, July 17, 2015, dhns

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