Quake: Life limping back to normal in North Bengal

Life in quake-hit north Bengal is limping back to normal following restoration of communication links and power.

Siliguri: Life in quake-hit north Bengal is
limping back to normal following restoration of communication
links and power even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee left by
road for neighbouring Sikkim on Tuesday morning to visit the
quake-devastated state and provide support.

"The weather has improved today and relief and rescue
operations are in full swing in the affected areas," West
Bengal ADG (Law and Order) Surojit Kar Purokayastha said.

There is no further report of any casualty from the
quake-hit north Bengal districts, where nine deaths have been
reported till yesterday, he said.

Banerjee left for Sikkim after personally overseeing
relief and rescue operations in north Bengal yesterday.

NH-31A, the lifeline of Sikkim, was reopened last evening
after clearing quake-triggered landslides at several places
between Siliguri and Gangtok.

"The Chief Minister has started for Sikkim to extend all
help to the people there. West Bengal has already sent food
and medical aid to Sikkim," Union Minister of State for
Shipping Mukul Roy, who is accompanying her, said.

He said Banerjee will visit Gangtok and places on the way
which bore the brunt of Sunday`s temblor of 6.8 magnitude.

The Chief Minister took stock of the situation in a
series of meetings with senior officials to ensure speedy
rescue and relief operations, treatment of the injured people
and restoration of communication lines in the affected
districts, official sources said.

Apart from the most affected Darjeeling hills and
Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and North Dinajpur districts have also
been affected by the earthquake, the sources said.

Power supply has been restored in the Hill subdivisions
of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong as also here. Road
connection between here and Darjeeling is unaffected.

Efforts are now on by Border Roads Organisation, army
and PWD to reopen roads in the upper reaches of Sikkim, the
sources said.

With the roads now cleared, the stranded tourists have
started returning from several destinations in north Bengal
and Sikkim, they added.

Meanwhile, Banerjee said West Bengal would provide all
assistance to quake-hit Sikkim.

"We are with our brothers and sisters of Sikkim at this
hour of distress," Banerjee said on way to Gangtok.


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