Darjeeling landslide: Army deployed in rescue work

Siliguri/Kolkata, July 2 (IANS) The Indian Army has deployed two medical and engineers task forces to carry out relief and rescue work in the landslide-hit Darjeeling hills of West Bengal where at least 30 people were killed and another dozen were reported missing, an official said on Thursday.

Army teams carrying relief equipment, including boats and life jackets, have been deployed since Wednesday in Jalpaiguri district, which has been inundated following incessant heavy rainfall and release of water from the Teesta barrage, a defence spokesperson said in Kolkata.

The teams were carrying out rescue and relief work at Mainaguri, Uttar Padmavati and Mal Bazaar areas.

Large parts of Jalpaiguri district have been submerged following incessant heavy rainfall since Tuesday, affecting over 5,000 people. The administration has issued a red alert as the rivers were flowing above the danger mark.

The National Disaster Response Force, Sashastra Seema Bal and the state government’s disaster management force were engaged in relief and rescue work across the region.

The state administration has confirmed recovering at least 30 bodies so far with at least a dozen still reported missing.

“Till Wednesday, 30 bodies were recovered,” district disaster management official Anindya Sarkar said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju were in the region to take stock of the situation.

A fresh landslide near Gayabari has put in uncertainty Chief Minister Banerjee’s scheduled visit to Mirik — the worst affected area accounting for 22 deaths alone.

The local met department has offered no respite from the inclement weather forecasting continued widespread and heavy rainfall during the next 48 hours.

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