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River beds clogged with boulders, fresh floods feared

Although landslide-hit Darjeeling hills is limping back to normal, high rate of siltation in the river bed due to massive fall of boulders has raised fear of fresh wave of floods in the entire region.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2003 10:40 IST

Although landslide-hit Darjeeling hills is limping back to normal, high rate of siltation in the river bed due to massive fall of boulders has raised fear of fresh wave of floods in the entire region.

West Bengal Municipal Affairs Minister Ashok Bhattacharya, who submitted a report to Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee on Monday after visiting the landslide-affected areas in the hills, said that due to the fall of the boulders, the river had lost the capacity to hold massive flow of water from the upper reaches.

Expressing fear that fresh floods might hit the North Bengal region due to high rate of siltation in the rivers, Bhattacharya told newsmen that several waterfalls had appeared due to landslips in the Darjeeling hills.

The Minister alleged that the land use and development plan in the Darjeeling hills could not be implemented due to the "lackadaisical attitude" of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC).

He said the Chief Minister would visit the landslide-hit areas in the Darjeeling hills on July 19, particularly the worst-hit Mirik and review the situation with high officials as well with the DGHC Chairman Subash Gheising.

The Minister said the state Government had already sanctioned Rs 20,000 and the Centre Rs 50,000 to the families of each person who died in the landslides. Besides, Rs 20,000 each had been sanctioned from the Ambedkar Abas Yojana through the HUDCO to those whose houses had been damaged.

Nineteen bodies had been recovered from the debris in the landslide-hit areas, while six persons were still missing in the entire hills. MORE

First Published: Jul 15, 2003 10:40 IST