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Heavy rainfall triggers landslides, toy train halted

Motorbikes screech through a water-logged road after an hour-long rain in Balurghat
Heavy rainfall since last night triggered landslides and brought down trees along NH55 and NH10, disrupting a toy train and road traffic for hours.
Narendra Mohan, the area officer of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, said a tree had been uprooted and fallen on tracks and NH55, which run parallel, at Rongtong. A Darjeeling-bound toy train was held up at Rongtong for more than two hours after the tree fall.
"The diesel train with 35 passengers left NJP around 8.30am. However, it had to stop at Rongtong because of the tree uprooted in the heavy rainfall. It took almost two hours to remove the tree from the tracks and the toy train resumed its journey towards Darjeeling at 3.30pm," said Mohan.
Rongtong is 20km from here.
The uprooted tree also disrupted traffic on NH55 between Gayabari and Tindharia at one end and Siliguri at the other end.
Traffic on NH10 was disrupted for five hours as heavy rain had ripped out a tree and caused a landslide. The tree fell on the highway at Labarbotay, 55km from here, while the landslide hit the road further 20km away.
"It has been raining continuously since last night and this led to landslips at several spots on NH10. The two major disruptions were at Labarbotay, where a tree had fallen on the highway, and another spot 20km further uphill. Vehicles had been stuck since noon and traffic resumed when the highway was cleared at the two spots around five hours later," said a source.
The Regional Meteorological Office in Jalpaiguri said the rainfall would continue throughout sub-Himalayan Bengal for the next few days.
"The southwest monsoon has set in and is strong over the region. This is leading to consistent rainfall in the sub-Himalayan Bengal. Heavy to very heavy rain, measuring 70mm to 200mm, has been forecast in Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar districts in the next 48 hours," said a Met Office source.
In 24 hours till 8.30am today, it had rained around 70mm in Darjeeling. In other areas, the rainfall ranged between 20mm and 60mm, a Met Office source said.(TT)

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