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Featured Image: A view of the landslide hit National Highway-10 at Kalijhora in Kalimpong. 

By A Newsman

Siliguri, 13 October: TRAFFIC movement between Siliguri and Sikkim has been severely affected due to a series of landslides on National Highway 10 in Kalimpong hills.

The situation is more or less same on the state road between Siliguri and Mirik which has been hit by landslides yesterday near Shimulbari tea estate in Kurseong sub-division. As a result, vehicles are plying on an alternative road that is longer.

The landsides have been triggered by incessant rain in most parts of north Bengal since 11 October. According to the Alipore Met office in Kolkata, the rain is taking place due to a hyper active southwest monsoon over Sikkim and sub-Himalayan West Bengal.

Till 08.30 am today morning, Darjeeling has received 90 mm rainfall, Sevoke (on NH-10 in Kurseong sub-division) 70 mm, Siliguri and Mathabhanga 60 mm, Kalimpong 40 mm, Alipurduar and Cooch Behar 30 mm.

Moderate to heavy rain is still on continuing in these areas and the Met office has forecast that the situation would remain unchanged until 15 October.

Around 50 metre stretch of NH-10 completely caved in due to a landslide at Kalimpong’s Kalijhora last evening, bringing traffic movement between Siliguri and Kalimpong / Sikkim to a complete halt.

State PWD’s national highway division plunged into action in the night itself and on finding that restoration of the caved in stretch would be a time-taking affair, they created a diversion by cutting down a nearby hill. The road was subsequently reopened to traffic in the wee hours today.

The arrangement, however, has proved to be short-lived due to fresh landslides on the highway near Malli on the Bengal-Sikkim border. Debris of a collapsed wall of a school and loose rocky-earth has blocked the highway at two places near Malli.

PWD has moved in its earthmovers, dodgers, and rock-cutter machines to the affected side and work is on to clear the debris. Darjeeling district administration has expressed hope that the road connection would be restored soon.