Darjeeling: Landslides triggered by heavy overnight rain in the hills caused extensive damage in six tea gardens, while the National Highway 31A which was blocked was cleared by the Border Roads Organisation on Saturday.
Work had to be stopped for the day in Takdah and Lopchu gardens because of the landslide, while Bannockburn, Phoobshering, Ging and Pussimbing reported loss of tea bushes, Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) Principal Secretary, Sandip Mukherjee said.
"Takdah received around 18 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours. A 40ft road in Takdah has been washed away in four places and five culverts have been damaged in landslides. There is no approach road to the garden factory now," Mukherjee said.
He said 13 labour quarters and two culverts were affected by the landslides at Lopchu.
"Tea bushes in an acre have been uprooted in Lopchu and road connectivity within the garden has become a major problem. Given the extent of the damage, no work could be carried out in Lopchu," he said.
Road communication in the Ging tea garden, about 20km from Darjeeling, was hit after three culverts were damaged.
"In Phoobshering, 6,500 tea bushes have been uprooted by the landslides. There is no approach road to the factory now. Water has also seeped into the garden factory," he said.
He alleged that constructions under the 100-days work scheme aggravated the situation in the tea gardens.
District Magistrate Saumitra Mohan said "The NH31A was blocked at Tarkhola, Melli and Kalijhora but all major roads have been cleared of debris with the help of agencies like the Border Roads Organisation and the public works department."
Mohan, also the principal secretary of the GTA, said an order has been issued to all subdivisional officers and block divisional officers, that any project was to be cleared only after taking into account environmental concerns and technical viability.