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New Delhi(PTI): Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju is visiting Darjeeling to assess the ground situation after massive landslides claimed at least 38 ives and caused heavy damages in the hilly West Bengal district, following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Two NDRF teams, comprising around 100 personnel, have also been dispatched for rescue operations in landslide-hit areas of Kurseong, Kalimpong and Darjeeling sub-divisions of the district. “PM has asked me to visit the affected areas to take stock of the severe disaster caused by heavy rainfall in Darjeeling areas of West Bengal. The situation is grim due to many death cases reported.
“(I) Will assess the ground situation and maximum support will be provided. Our ground rescue forces are already doing operation. I’m departing with official team at 5 pm,” Rijiju told PTI. Rijiju will take stock of the situation and steps taken for rescue and relief operations. He is expected to give a report to the Prime Minister on his return tomorrow.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also telephoned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and assured her of all central assistance in relief and rescue operations, official sources said. Singh told Banerjee that the NDRF teams will reach the affected areas as early as possible. Heavy rains have triggered a number of landslides in three sub-divisions of Darjeeling district since last night.
As per the latest toll, 38 people have been killed, 20 were injured and 15 were reported missing, said sources in Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which has been carrying out rescue operations. Prime Minister Modi expressed pain over the loss of lives due to landslides and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased.