Bengal landslides kill 28, Mamata announces compensation

Siliguri/Kolkata, July 1 (IANS) The death toll in landslides triggered by incessant rain in West Bengal’s Darjeeling hills has risen to 28, an official said on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a compensation of Rs.4 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs.1.25 lakh each to those injured in the wake of heavy rain since Tuesday.

“So far, we have recovered 28 bodies. Several others are still missing,” Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Amit Javalgi said.

According to Javalgi, 20 bodies were recovered from Mirik, six from Kalimpong and one each from Sukhiapokhri and Gorubathan areas of the district.

The landslides have badly affected National Highways 31 and 10, snapping the link with Sikkim. The heavy rainfall also washed away the Rohini-Garidhura bridge.

Banerjee assured all assistance to the affected people.

“Money can never compensate the loss of life. However, the state government has decided to pay Rs.4 lakh to kin of those who have died and Rs.1.25 lakh to the injured. The government will provide all kinds of assistance for the rehabilitation of those affected by the calamity,” Banerjee said.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation. The home secretary has already reached there. I am rushing to the area,” the chief minister said at Bahrampur in Murshidabad district.

In Jalpaiguri district, at least 5,000 people were affected by water-logging and their misery was compounded by the release of over 5,000 cusecs of water from the Teesta barrage.

The district administration has issued a red alert as the Teesta and Torsa rivers touched danger levels.

While the Sashastra Seema Bal and disaster management personnel are engaged in relief and rescue operations, North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb said the army had been called in to help in the rescue efforts.

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