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Utter chaos as Darjeeling braces for shutdown

Locals scramble to stock up on money and food, fearing fresh trouble.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2013 12:12 IST
Amitava Banerjee
Amitava Banerjee
Hindustan Times

It was a manic Thursday for Darjeeling.

Bracing for the indefinite bandh from Saturday, people rushed to the market to buy essentials.

Serpentine queues were seen outside ATMs, which continued till late at night.

Similar was the case with banks and post offices with people withdrawing money trying to avoid the long queues at the ATMs.

Traffic jams ruled the roads as vehicles from nearby tea estates and settlements came into town for supplies of essential commodities.

From around noon, parents of boarding students from nearby areas arrived to take their wards back.

Gurung had appealed to schools to send back their boarding students so that they don’t face problems during the indefinite bandh.

“Out of the 152 boarders we have in our school, 100 odd boarders from nearby places including Sikkim, Siliguri and Bihar have left. We are trying to arrange for tickets for boarders who come from other parts of the country and abroad. We have students from Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Bangkok and Hong Kong. It is difficult to arrange for their travel at short notice. We have stocked up provisions for students who have been compelled to stay back,” said Father Santy Mathew, Rector, St Joseph’s School, Darjeeling.

When questioned about studies and completion of syllabus, Father Santy said, “Our school has both day scholars and boarders. Likewise some of our teachers reside on campus while others come from the town. As teachers and day scholars cannot attend school during the bandh, it will be difficult to complete the syllabus.”

There are 13 AngloIndian schools and 32 listed schools in the Hills.

Bimal Mittal, a parent from Siliguri said, “I have decided to send my son home. Till the situation is normal I will not send him back. It is a difficult situation. I do not want my son to study under such conditions neither can I get him admitted in some other school in the middle of the year,”

Prices of vegetables sky rocketed as people resorted to panic buying.

First Published: Aug 02, 2013 11:58 IST