TT, July 26: The flood situation improved marginally in most districts of north Bengal today although thousands are still in relief camps in Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri as water is yet to recede completely from their villages.
Also, erosion has started in some locations, leading to damage in tea plantations.
The Rohini Road that connects Siliguri with Kurseong, where a stretch in Lower Shirubari had sunk 7ft, remained closed for the second day. “Restoration work started yesterday. We expect the repairs to be over in two-three days, after which the road would be opened to traffic,” a GTA official said today.
In Alipurduar, the district primary school council has served a notice, announcing suspension of classes in all primary schools today and tomorrow. Administrative sources said water levels had dropped in the Kaljani and the Dima but continuation of heavy rain in the Bhutan hills might again swell these rivers tomorrow.
“We are still on alert as these rivers originate from Bhutan and heavy rainfall upstream can deteriorate the situation,” an official said. “Relief camps are operational as water is yet to recede completely from some low-lying areas on the banks of these rivers.”
The administration has also put lights along the embankment of the Kaljani in Alipurduar town as the flood victims have set up makeshift shelters on the embankment. Some others are staying in nearby schools.
“Members of the National Disaster Response Force are engaged in relief work and are also distributing medicines. Employees from the health department have also visited the affected areas. Some people who had stayed back in their semi-submerged homes have been brought out in speedboats and shifted to safer places,” an administrative source said.
In the Dooars, erosion has started in tea estates that are next to hilly rivers and streams.
In Dheklapara Tea Estate, which has been shut for several years, tea bushes have been washed away by the Joybirpara, a stream. Also, the road connecting the garden with Birpara, has been damaged.
In Suhasini Tea Estate in the Kalchini block of Alipurduar, about one acre of plantation has been washed away by the Malangijhora, a hill stream. This evening, a 25-metre stretch of the embankment that protects the garden from the river was breached and the Torsha flooded a labour line in the estate. Local people and management representatives have started rescue work.
In Sarugaon Tea estate located close to Falakata, the management had declared a holiday today. Around 60 acres of plantation are under the water of the Dudua river.
In Malda, the level of the Fulahar has risen and submerged parts of Harishchandrapur and Ratua. “The river is flowing very close to extreme danger level. We have alerted the administration,” an official of the state irrigation department said.