July 3, 2015
Each and every new construction should be monitored in the Hills: WB CM
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee on Thursday warned the authorities of the Darjeeling hills not to allow rampant construction that was clearly behind the landslides and the death of so many people, standing at the Ground Zero of the landslide disaster zone.
On Thursday, the CM reached Tingling tea estate near Mirik, traveling for more than four and-a-half hours from Siliguri. It was here that at least 19 people were buried by the landslips. On Thursday, the death toll rose to 29 with 10 more still missing.
“I travelled more than six hours to reach Mirik from Siliguri because of landslides on the way. On my way, I stopped at relief camps. We are with our brothers and sisters,” she said on social media.
The Chief Minister also sounded a note of caution. She said, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) would soon be asked to study the fragile hills and come up with suggestions. “Houses and tall buildings should not come up in an unscientific manner,” she said, adding, “I have asked authorities of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration to monitor each and every new construction.”
The Chief Minister said that Darjeeling’s quaint wooden bungalows have given way to concrete high-rises and the results are there for all to see. The September 2011 earthquake in Sikkim and April 25, 20015, quake in Nepal that killed thousands should be an eye-opener, she said.
The Government will take immediate steps to redress the situation, WB CM said. “The State authorities would write to the Centre to send a GSI survey team to Darjeeling,” she said, demanding that the central government should generously contribute towards rebuilding roads and homes.
On Thursday, the chief minister called for strict monitoring of all construction activities and said all building rules should be strictly followed.
The West Bengal Chief Minister also visited landslide affected areas of Mirik on Thursday. After halting for an hour she departed for Sukna at 4 pm where she will be spending the night. She will be returning to Kolkata on Friday.