HT, 3 August 2016, SILIGURI: T he Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) has begun the repair works to connect the villages which remain cut off due to breakdown of communication triggered by flashflood a day after the Opposition Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) threatened to launch a stir.
Villages like Lohagarh, Khapril, Potong and Tingling under Mirik block in Kurseong sub-division with about 20 lakh people remaining cut off due to flash floods since July 24.
The only bridge connecting these villages was destroyed many years ago and the local people were commuting through a temporary diversion constructed on Guey Khola.
Local peoples’ demand to construct a permanent bridge went unheard and they continue to suffer every monsoon. This monsoon, the only diversion connecting these villages with the outer world got washed away leaving the local population in distress.
On Wednesday, the GNLF submitted a memorandum to Anurag Srivastava, district magistrate, Darjeeling, demanding immediate restoration of the bridge and repair of 9-km long road that connects these villages with Dhulia More, Manja and Manapur TE and Hiley Jhora.
Nauraj Chettri, president of GNLF Soureni-Panighatta committee, threatened to launch a stir if the repair and restoration works are not carried out immediately.
The said bridge is maintained by the GTA while a portion of the road in the area also comes under the GTA’s jurisdiction.
Ravinder Singh, the principal secretary of the GTA, said that engineers have visited the affected areas and temporary works have started in two to three places.
Terai region and the foothills falling under GTA in Darjeeling district have always felt the pinch of administration’s apathy, said Chettri.
Local people had been insisting that temporary diversion would not solve the problem. Rather it would merely be a waste of peoples’ money.
This time also the GTA was planning to come up with diversion. The locals have suggested constructing an iron bridge as a temporary solution, Chettri told reporters.
It would take at least two weeks for the Rohini Road connecting Siliguri and Kurseong to reopen said Kishore Ghimirey, the executive engineer of GTA.