DARJEELING: The army stepped in on Tuesday to build a metal bridge at the landslide-hit area to help resume traffic movement. Sunday's landslide had devoured a 30-metre stretch of the Lebong Cart Road. Vehicular movement from the main town to the northern parts had to be diverted to the upper stretches where the road is narrow and small.

The 113 Engineer Regiment of the Indian army at Lebong surveyed the landslide site near Sharma Garage just above the Happy Valley tea estate. "Work to build the bridge would begin from Wednesday and we hope to resume vehicular movement within three days," said Brigadier R S Rawat, of the Dogra Regiment. The bridge on completion will be christened 'Mayaloo 113' after the regiment's number.

The PWD will continue with the repair of the road work. "We were already in the process of restoring the road that was damaged prior to the earthquake and the landslide. Now we will concentrate in strengthening the road from the bottom," said a senior PWD official.

The Dogra Regiment is located at Lebong about four kilometers from the landslide area.

The Lebong Cart Road connects the town with Singamari, where Gorkha Janmukti Morcha's (GJM) main office and reputed boarding schools and colleges are located. It also leads to Sikkim via Jorethang. Several Darjeeling Tea plantations are also located beyond the landslide site.

Trilok Dewan, the Darjeeling MLA visited the landslide site with the army and district administration officials. "It is encouraging to see the army at the fore. I request the district administration to ensure that the army is not impeded while they are at work to restore traffic movement," said Dewan.

Bengal Governor M.K.Narayanan arrived in Darjeeling on Tuesday and visited the landslide area in the afternoon. He will be meeting officials of the district administration later in the evening to take stock of the situation in the Hills post the earthquake and landslide.

Source: Times of India