Several roads across the state were closed because of flooding and rockslides, California's transportation agency reported.
At a time when the Sikkim flash flood victims in Kalimpong have been expecting special packages from both the Centre and the state for their relief and rehabilitation, the Darjeeling MP Raju Bista has asked the Kalimpong District Magistrate whether the district administration has taken any decisions or worked out a plan for rehabilitating the survivors permanently, including providing them with alternative land for building homes.
Though the West Bengal government announced a “package” of Rs 25 crore for rehabilitation of those affected by the flood, sources in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) have confirmed that the Rs 25 crore fund was nothing but a part of development fund that the semi-autonomous body is entitled to.
Sources also said the GTA had written to the state government on 12 October and submitted a preliminary report that pegged the damages at Rs 250 crore. But the fund has not yet released for rehabilitation of those victims in Kalimpong areas. On the other hand, Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, in a letter to Kalimpong DM, has asked “ If no such plans have been developed, please let me know the timeline by when the district administration and the state government intend to develop such a plan and execute the same.”
Notably, the GTA chief executive Anit Thapa recently held a meeting with the officials of the NHPC and discussed how the victims can be compensated and rehabilitated. Mr Thapa, a few weeks ago, informed the NHPC officials that they would not allow power generation until Teesta river bank protection work is complete.
Thousands of people were affected by flooding in Bengal areas like Rangpo, Teesta, Geil Khola, 29th Mile and Riyang. In a letter to Kalimpong DM, Balasubramanian T, Darjeeling M P Raju Bista said till date your office has not communicated an official list of devastation caused by the flashflood. As an elected representative of the people of my constituency, I am answerable to the people and the Parliament.
So, I need to know the total extent of damages, including the loss of lives. “I am therefore requesting you to provide me with the full details on an urgent basis,” Mr Bista added. Mr Bista wanted to know details of people who have died , due to the flashflood , how many people missing, number of people injured and status of their recovery – injury, how many of them are under treatment and released. Number of homes completely destroyed, and estimated damages (cost estimates).
Number of homes partially destroyed, and estimated damages (cost estimates) . Details of people/families who have been displaced from their homes – home owners, families that were living in rented accommodations. Details of support the administration has provided/is providing to those who have been displaced from their homes – support provided to home owners displaced, support provided to home renters (if any).
Report on agricultural fields washed away, livestocks washed away, livelihoods lost/disrupted, livelihood support, replacement for livestocks provided to the survivors (if any), infrastructure damaged, and their restoration status. MP has also asked about funds provided by the West Bengal Government to address the damages incurred due to this disaster to Kalimpong district and the details of how the funds have been allocated or used by the district administration.
And the detailed report on financial compensation paid to the next-of-kin of those who have perished in this disaster, and to survivors. It is now learnt that the principal secretary to the state disaster management department has directed the district magistrates of Darjeeling and Kalimpong to furnish reports on the actual extent of damage caused by the flood.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that a total of 111 bodies of people who died in the flood have been recovered so far, while reports have it that over 100 are still missing. The daily report issued by the Sikkim government on 30 October states that 42 bodies have been found in the state and that 77 are still missing.
In Jalpaiguri district in the plains, 59 bodies swept down by the Teesta have been found, while 10 more have been recovered in Cooch Behar district and Bangladesh.
A report made public by the Jalpaiguri administration says that 17 of the 59 bodies have been identified and handed over to their relatives, and those included seven army men. The remaining 42 bodies are yet to be identified.