A Kalimpong village in the verge of being swept away by landslide

Fear of landslide has rendered 35 families from Poshyer under Kalimpong sub-division homeless. The entire village is in the verge of being swept away by landslide, forcing the villagers to take temporary refuge along the 2nd Mile roadside under plastic and tarpaulin roofs. The villagers said the cracks which could lead to landslide in getting bigger by the day and with continuous rains they were left with no other option but to leave their houses.
A family from Poshyer village having their lunch under a temporary shed at 2nd Mile, Kalimpong on Saturday.
A family from Poshyer village having their lunch
under a temporary shed at 2nd Mile,
 Kalimpong on Saturday.
Although the families have been rendered homeless due to an imminent natural disaster, the disaster management department has kept mum on the issue. The village falls under Kalimpong Gram Panchayat and Tisiding Gram Panchayat, but the villagers have not been provided with any relief material, nether by the department nor the Gram Panchayats. The families lamented the department has not even provided a single piece of tarpaulin or fuel and food. Villager Rajen Giri said the Panchayat members visited the village to assess the landslide, but instead of providing help they questioned the villagers on why they left the village without any landslide when they could clearly see the slope is almost about to give up.

Another villager Kamala Chettri said she and her family left their house and livestock to save themselves and have taken refuge under a tree along in 2nd mile. “It is difficult to sleep at night because of the leaking tarpaulin roof under which we sleep. We also do not have any kerosene to make light in the night,” she added.

Poshyer village gets cut off from Kalimpong and other places every time there is heavy rain. The villagers have to cross a river to reach Poshyer as there is no bridge across the river and when there is heavy rain it rises and makes it difficult to cross. Due to continuous rains today, the villagers were unable to reach their homes to collect their valuables.

Meanwhile, former Gram Panchayat Pradhan Som Prashad Pradhan was shocked to know the villagers have not even been provided with essential relief materials in such a situation. However, Kalimpong GTA sabhasad Kazim Tshering Bhutia did provide a few essential materials to the villagers and has promised the administration will hold an emergency meeting to help them. Bhutia along with Save the Hills convener Prabhulla Rao also visited Poshyer village today to take stock of the situation.

Rao said the village is threatened by the rising Teesta River in the South and landslide from the north. “The hills have not received much rain this year, while Kalimpong is short by 40% rain during the May-July period. If this is the situation with such less rain, I fear the village will be swept away by the landslide if it increases,” Rao observed. He also called on a geological survey of the area as Poshyer village has been in constant threat of landslides.

Meanwhile, the villagers are also contemplating to request the administration to provide them a separate land to shift the entire village as it is difficult to live in Poshyer with fear of getting swept by landslide all the time.

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