Darjeeling: Just when the life of people in the Hills was are limping back to normalcy after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake shook the entire eastern India, a massive landslide devoured a 30-metre stretch of Lebong Cart Road late Sunday night, cutting off connectivity with the northern parts of Darjeeling. However, no casualties have been reported in the incident.

Lebong Cart Road connects the town with places like Singamari and some Darjeeling Tea gardens such as Phoobsering, Barnesbeck, Singla, Ging and also the army cantonment at Lebong. All vehicular movement has now been diverted from the Birch Hill Road.

"Incessant rain in the past 24 hours has damaged a vast stretch of Lebong Cart Road. We have diverted all traffic flow to the north side of the town from the upper stretches. It will take about a month to repair the road," said Darjeeling DM Soumitra Mohan.

No property has been damagedin the incident that occurred. However, according to civil defense officials, more rain could prove to be dangerous. "The September 18 earthquake in Sikkim has also affected the Hills. Cracks have appeared on several roads that need to be plastered to avoid water seepage," warned Gopal Rai, a senior government official. Incidentally, the road was already damaged and repair work had started prior to the earthquake and rainfall.

Several schools in the northern half of the town asked students to return home because of persistent rainfall. One school declared Puja holiday before schedule.

"We did not want to take any chance. So we declared the Puja holiday from today itself. The situation is quite precarious in the Hills with the recent earthquake and now this incessant rainfall," said Father Kinley, rector of St Joseph's School at Singamari.

Vacation at the school was supposed to start from Friday.

With the road cut off, the residents of Singamari may face difficulties in getting their drinking water, which is supplied by tankers.

"The Birch Hill Road is too narrow and a one-way lane. Traffic system will be in disarray from now with heavy vehicles, including that of the army and water supply,

plying on this road. Besides, it will be difficult to travel more than 2 km on foot everyday to reach town for work," said Mohan Tamang, a resident of Singamari.

Source: Times of India