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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Cyclone, thundershowers add to Darjeeling chaos

Amitava Banerjee , Hindustan Times  Darjeeling, August 21, 2013
First Published: 12:09 IST(21/8/2013) | Last Updated: 12:14 IST(21/8/2013)

Already crippled by the ongoing five-day shutdown, the Queen of Hills had to bear the brunt of an overnight cyclone accompanied by sharp spells of thundershowers, adding to the chaos brought on by the fresh spell of political instability in the region.

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Darjeeling town was the worst affected, with three reported injured.

Cyclonic winds along with thundershowers raged through Monday night, uprooting trees and knocking electricity poles off base.

Power supply, telephone services and the water supply of the town and neighboring areas were badly hit.

Three persons were reportedly injured at the Lowis Jubilee Complex below the Darjeeling Railway station after a tree fell on the house they were living in.

The tin roof of the wooden structure collapsed, injuring Anuj Gurung (36), his wife Sona Gurung (32) and niece Sebika Gurung (16).

All three are currently undergoing treatment at the Darjeeling Sadar Hospital.

Anuj’s son Ayush (11) escaped a similar fate, as his father managed to put his body between his son and the roof as it came crashing down.

The top brass of the district administration held a series of meetings in Darjeeling to take stock of the situation and draw up a plan for relief and restoration work.

The three hill sub-divisions Darjeeling town and the neighboring areas were the worst affected.

“We have sent our officers to supervise relief and restoration work in the affected areas. The district administration is coordinating with the municipality, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (WBSEDCL) and the BSNL for restoration work. We are in the process of mobilising efforts on a war footing to restore electricity, water supply, telephone services and clear road blocks,” Gopal Lama, additional district magistrate, Darjeeling, said.

Among the worst affected areas in Darjeeling town were the Chowrasta, Lebong Cart Road and Jalapahar.

Control rooms have been opened in the offices of block development officers and sub-divisional magistrates across the Hills.

Power supply was the worst hit, with trees crashing down on electric cables and poles being knocked off base.

Sources said even the electricity department is facing a shortage of manpower.

“We are working on a war footing. We hope to restore supply in parts of the town by tonight. However, it could take another two to three days to restore services in all places. Much depends on the weather as well. Continuing rains could hamper restoration work,” Firoz Akhtar Khan, divisional manager, WBSEDCL, said.

Even tea gardens weren’t spared the ravages of the cyclone.


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