Heavy Rains Trigger Darjeeling Estate Landslides

DARJEELING, West Bengal, India

Torrential rains closed National Highway 31A serving the Darjeeling tea growing region and swept away tea bushes at six gardens damaging factories, residences and service buildings.

The Takdah garden reported 18 inches of rain in 24 hours last week, a torrent sufficient to wash away 40 feet of roadway. Landslides closed National Highway 31A at Tarkhola, Melli and Kalijhora for a few hours and many thousands of tea bushes perished.

Hardest hit were Takdah and Lopchu tea gardens with a loss of bushes reported at Bannockburn, Phoobshering, Ging and Pussimbing, according to Darjeeling Tea Association (DTA) Principal Secretary, Sandip Mukherjee.

"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. Lopchu lost bushes covering an acre.

The loss of three culverts on the road to Ging tea garden, about 20km from Darjeeling prevented vehicle access which has since been restored.

Source: Business Standard