Hill grant for house damage


Kurseong June 10: The Bengal government will immediately grant Rs 50,000 for each house damaged by Cyclone Aila in the four hill municipalities on May 26.

The announcement was made by the state urban development and municipal affairs minister, Asok Bhattacharya, here today after a meeting with the heads of the four municipalities and the Darjeeling district magistrate, Surendra Gupta.

“According to the assessments submitted by the civic bodies, 225 houses were completely destroyed in all the four municipal areas. We have decided to grant Rs 50,000 for each house immediately. The civic bodies will strictly monitor the utilisation of the funds and the repair works,” Bhattacharya told journalists after the meeting at the Inspection Bungalow.

Of the 225 houses, 162 are in Darjeeling and 26 in Kurseong. Mirik and Kalimpong reported the destruction of 20 and 17 homes respectively.

It was also decided at the meeting that the municipalities would immediately clear streams and the drains of debris, which had been deposited by the landslides triggered by the storm. The minister said the cleaning would be taken up with a view to avoiding further landslides in the future.

“The funds for the purpose will be released depending on the requirement of each municipality,” he said.

As the water pipelines and the roads in the municipal areas had also been damaged, Bhattacharya said, minimum repairs would be carried out at the earliest. Besides, walls along the roads will also be strengthened with the help of the Municipal Engineering Directorate.

The minister, however, lamented that building rules were being flouted in all the four municipal areas.

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