SILIGURI, 28 AUG: The National Highway 31A, which connects Sikkim with Siliguri, would remain closed to traffic from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. for five days starting tomorrow for repairs, said the state home secretary, Mr Ardhendu Sen today. “Traffic movement would be normal during the day hours,” he added.
The state government would prepare a comprehensive plan to combat frequent landslides in the hills, the home secretary said after completing his four-day visit to the Darjeeling hills to assess the restoration and rehabilitation works after the recent landslides. “A committee of experts would be formed to chalk out plans to combat landslides,” said Mr Sen. “The estimated cost of landslide damage is Rs 150 crore while the amount is Rs 430 crore in case of Aila,” he added.
“Around 450 houses were completely damaged in the landslides and 300 houses were damaged partly. Around 1300 families are now staying in the relief camps,” said the Darjeeling district magistrate, Mr Surendra Gupta.
The administration is trying to finish repairs before the puja so that the road conditions do not affect tourism during the puja,” said Mr Gupta.
The government would repair the Hill Cart Road, connecting Darjeeling with Siliguri, soon. Though light vehicles are plying through the road, heavy vehicles are still not allowed, the home secretary said.