To contact us CLICK HERE
View Kalimpong News at
Citizen reporters may send photographs related to news with proper information to

Monday, January 2, 2012

Highway traffic in a shambles - Restricted ride for vehicles on Teesta bridges.....Season's first snowfall in Hills

Highway traffic in a shambles - Restricted ride for vehicles on Teesta bridges
TT, Jan. 1: Road communication to two Bengal districts, Northeast and Bhutan from the rest of India is in a shambles with Coronation bridge over the Teesta developing a crack and traffic being regulated on another bridge over the river near Jalpaiguri for repair.
While the Teesta bridge along NH31D will not be open to two-way traffic at least till Saturday, there is no sign of heavy and medium vehicles being allowed to move on the Coronation bridge along NH31 in the immediate future. The two highways connect Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar districts, the Northeast and Bhutan with the rest of India.
“The NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) had taken up the repair of the Teesta bridge a few weeks ago. Vehicles are being allowed to move in only one direction at any point of time ever since one side of the bridge was concretised a few days ago. So, thousands of vehicles line up at either end of the bridge waiting for signal to cross the Teesta,” said north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb.
At both the ends of the Teesta bridge, vehicles could be spotted lined up for 15-20km. The traffic congestion along NH31D in Jalpaiguri forced trucks and other vehicles to take a detour and use the Coronation bridge at Sevoke to reach their destinations.
“But after a crack was detected, only light vehicles are allowed to move through the Coronation Bridge. The heavy vehicles have to solely depend on the Teesta bridge,” said the minister.
Sevoke is 20 km from Siliguri and is in Kalimpong subdivision.
The traffic mess has given the Trinamul minister an opportunity to take potshots at the Congress and the Centre.
“The state had approached the Union surface transport ministry more than once to build an alternative bridge at Sevoke bazaar, parallel to the Coronation Bridge. The NHAI was also repeatedly asked to take up the four-laning of the NH31D stretch (between Ghoshpukur and Alipurduar). However, nothing has been done,” said Deb.
“While Congress leaders and workers in north Bengal are coming down heavily on the state government on several issues, they are keeping mum on the Centre’s delay in streamlining traffic on important highways.”
The NHAI said it would take at least seven more days to restore the free flow of traffic on the Teesta bridge. “Usually, it takes around a month for the concrete to become solid at a desired level. Since we have used a chemical while laying the concrete layer, it would solidify in six days,” said Pankaj Mishra, the general manager (technical) of the NHAI.
Mishra said the concrete would be examined on Thursday and then, bitumen would be laid on the bridge. “We will need at least three-four more days to lay asphalt and open the bridge completely for traffic,” he said.
The NH division IX of the state public works department could not say when the Coronation bridge could be repaired. The PWD has to bring in a mobile bridge inspection equipment for the close examination of the crack that was found under the bearing near the crown of the bridge’s arch.
“We will check the crack once the equipment arrives at Sevoke,” said Nirmal Mondal, the executive engineer of the division.
Deb said he would meet the chief minister in Calcutta on January 4 to brief her on the condition of the two bridges. “I am collecting status reports on the bridges and will hold talks with the chief minister on January 4. I will request here to approach the centre again,” Deb said.
Season's first snowfall in Hills
TNN, Jan 2, 2012: DARJEELING: The New Year brought with it the first snowfall in the Hills on Sunday. Around 2 inches of snow covered the Phalut-Sandakphu region, around 52km from Darjeeling town. Locals feel Darjeeling will also experience snowfall within a few days.
Tour and travel operators were quick to cash in on the snowfall at Phalut. They spread the news in Kolkata where domestic tourists were waiting for the snowfall. "I just got confirmation that it is snowing in Darjeeling. Many of my clients have been enquiring about the possibility of snowfall in the Hills. It's good news," said Sushanta Roy, a tour operator from B C Roy Market in Esplanade.
"It is snowing now.and it looks like it will last for some more time. The weather condition indicates that makes it feel that snowfall will get heavier as night falls," said Nima Lhamu Sherpa, a local over phone from Kalpokhari.
Temperature in Darjeeling hovered around the 2-3 degree mark on Sunday. "The condition is suitable for snowfall any time now. There is a blanket of cloud with slight drizzle but it is not chilly. This is an indicator that snow could fall anytime in Darjeeling town," said Meghna Rana, a local resident.
In Tiger Hill, the temperature dropped drastically to 1 degree.
"It has been cold for the past couple of days. The western disturbances have not arrived but there was rainfall in Siliguri. Moisture is in the air, which is essential for snowfall," said the weatherman at the North Bengal University (NBU) in Siliguri.
Hoteliers in Darjeeling have already started receiving inquiries and bookings with the news of the snowfall in Sandakphu-Phalut spreading to the cities. "I have been getting several calls since this evening from Kolkata and Delhi. I have only 17 rooms but the volume of bookings at least over phone has swelled to more then 30 within a span of hours," said Anuraj Sharma, an hotelier in Darjeeling.

No comments:

Post a Comment