Heavy rains coupled with landslides have severely affected normal life in north Bengal and Sikkim as hundreds of tourists being forced to stay indoors.
The rains has started last Tuesday is continuing as some places received as much as 100 to 180 millimetres of rainfall in the last 24-hours. The main bridge connecting the north town of West Bengal to Mirik a popular tourist spot has snapped leading to severe breakdown of logistical systems in the region.
“The rains have severely affected normal life in the region with several rivers flowing over the danger mark. it has been raining since Tuesday last. There had been water logging in some areas of Siliguri and in at least six gram panchayats. Relief and rescue work is in progress. The affected panchayats, administrative sources said, are Chathat, Phansidewa, Ghoshpukur, BIdhannagar-I and II and Upper Bagdogra,” said Anurag Srivastava, the district magistrate of Darjeeling.
Meanwhile, water of Teesta and Jaldhaka rivers of Jalpaiguri, Mahananda of Darjeeling, Santosh and Kaljani of Alipurduar district were rising due to continuous rains.
“There is a high chance of wide spread flooding if it continues to rain. We are monitoring the water levels 24X7,” said an official of the irrigation department.
India Meteorological Department said it would take few more days for the weather to improve. “The southwest monsoon is strong over north Bengal and Sikkim. In the past 24 hours, it has rained as much as 180 millimetre in some places. Heavy to very heavy rainfall has been reported from Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Alipurduar districts. It would take at least two-three days for the weather to change,” an official at the Met office said.
Flights out of Bagdogra airport has been severely affected due to the inclement weather. “Of the 16 flights that were scheduled, we were force to cancel three flights and the rest of them were delayed due to bad weather,” the airport director of Bagdogra Rakesh Sahay, said.
Tourist travelling to that part of country had a tough time as most were stranded in hotel rooms or were forced to stay beyond their schedule due to the ongoing rains. “We were scheduled to leave on Wednesday but were forced to stay behind as no mode of transportation was working,” said Rajiv Chandra, from Maharashtra.
The roads have become too risky to travel as landslides have cut of several roads and most were afraid of plying on the treacherous roads. “The regular bus service from Siliguri and Jalpaiguri has been affected so are the car services as most refused to drive on such weather conditions,” said Tarak Lama, a travel agent in the region.