Kolkata/Darjeeling: West Bengal government is still in the process of collecting data from the remote pockets of North Bengal to ascertain the magnitude of the devastation of the earthquake.
State Disaster Management Minister Javed Khan told PTI that a meeting would be held once Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returns from North Bengal which bore the brunt of the April 25 quake in the state.
Three persons who were killed in the severe earthquake were from Jalpaiguri, Siliguri and Naxalbari, all in North Bengal and 69 people, including 43 school children, were injured in the state.
State government officials were working round-the-clock from the control room for disaster management at the state secretariat building here, a senior official said. 74 passengers, who were stranded in Nepal after the earthquake, returned to the city on a special Air India flight from Kathmandu yesterday.
Nepal government sought assistance from the West Bengal government and Bengal was rushing a rescue team to the Himalayan kingdom, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who met the injured at a Siliguri hospital and the next of kin of the victims at Mirik and Naxalbari yesterday, said.
Fresh tremors were felt twice in different parts of West Bengal yesterday triggering panic among the people who ran out of homes and gathered on the streets. According to a report received from Darjeeling today, cracks were seen in one of the buildings of the army headquarter at Jalapahar in Darjeeling Hills.
“We had repaired the cracks after the 2011 quake. But, today the same wall split after the tremor. Otherwise there is no damage,” said Brigadier Sachdev of the Jalapahar Army Cantonment.
In the fringe areas of Darjeeling town, people were seen camping in open grounds.
“We have come to the high school grounds because we fear there will be more tremors in the night. We don't want to take chances,” said a housewife from the Rajbari area, where the ground is located, over phone to this reporter. Even tourists were seen roaming in famous Mall area, the popular Hills promenade.
“I know that we must be in open space...But I am really scared what will happen in the evening and night,” said Tarun Talukdhar from Kolkata.
The temblor in Nepal has brought back to Darjeeling the memories of the devastation in September 2011. “Thank God nothing happened in this earthquake. But I am still in a state of shock. It brought back the dreaded memory of the September 2011 quake,” said Janaki Biswakarma, a housewife who in 2011 had stayed in a rehabilitation centre for nearly a week fearing the aftershocks.
Gorkhaland Territorial Administration has declared that all educational institutions will remain closed in the Darjeeling Hills on Monday and Tuesday for the “safety of children”.
GTA chief Bimal Gurung said in a release that owing to multiple tremors being felt across the Himalayan region and the prevailing high alert situation, all schools across the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration will remain closed on April 27 and 28 respectively.
However, university exams will be held as per schedule, the release said.