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Mamata leaves for quake-hit north Bengal

Source: PTI
September 20, 2011 13:59 IST
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Life in quake-hit north Bengal is limping back to normal following restoration of communication links and power even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee left by road for neighbouring Sikkim on Tuesday morning to visit the quake devastated state and provide support.

"The weather has improved today and relief and rescue operations are in full swing in the affected areas," West Bengal ADG (Law and Order) Surojit Kar Purokayastha told PTI.

There is no further report of any casualty from the quake-hit north Bengal districts, where nine deaths have been reported till Monday, he said.

Banerjee left for Sikkim after personally overseeing relief and rescue operations in north Bengal on Monday.

NH-31A, the lifeline of Sikkim, was reopened on Monday evening after clearing quake-triggered landslides at several places between Siliguri and Gangtok.

"The chief minister has started for Sikkim to extend all help to the people there. West Bengal has already sent food and medical aid to Sikkim," Union Minister of State for Shipping Mukul Roy, who is accompanying her, said.

He said Banerjee will visit Gangtok and places on the way which bore the brunt of Sunday's temblor of 6.8 magnitude.

The chief minister took stock of the situation in a series of meetings with senior officials to ensure speedy rescue and relief operations, treatment of the injured people and restoration of communication lines in the affected districts, official sources said.

Apart from the most affected Darjeeling hills and Siliguri, Jalpaiguri and North Dinajpur districts have also been affected by the earthquake, the sources said.

Power supply has been restored in the hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong as also here. Road connection between here and Darjeeling is unaffected.

Efforts are now on by Border Roads Organisation, army and PWD to reopen roads in the upper reaches of Sikkim, the sources said.

With the roads now cleared, the stranded tourists have started returning from several destinations in north Bengal and Sikkim, they added.

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