In a text book example of how landslides indirectly impact communities, a story was published in the today's Telegraph on the severe cooking gas shortages in the three main towns of Darjeeling district (Kalimpong, Kurseong & Darjeeling).
Extracts of the report are published below:-
More trucks to end LPG shortage
Kalimpong, Oct. 4: The Indian Oil Corporation has increased its fleet of trucks from 29 to 35 to ferry LPG cylinders to the hills, expecting to make up for the shortage of cooking gas that has been plaguing the hills for the past four months.
The shortage of supplies had been because of road breaches triggered by landslides.
“Trucks had to take a detour because of the road breaches, besides reducing the carrying capacity by more than 30 per cent (ferrying less cylinders than what they actually can),” said A.T. Roy, area manager, LPG division, IOC.
Cooking gas consumers in the hills were forced to make alternative arrangement to keep the kitchen fire burning. The LPG scarcity — primarily because of bad roads — had been lingering for about four months.
A major breach at Paglajhora on NH55 that connects Siliguri with Darjeeling is yet to be repaired, forcing the trucks carrying LPG cylinders to take a detour via Mungpoo.
With the Dasain festivities only a couple of weeks away, many people were seriously thinking of cutting down on the number of food items in order to save on gas.
“I had to dust my old kerosene stove to minimise the usage of LPG cylinders,” said Binita Singh, a resident of East Main Road here.
The situation is no better in Darjeeling and Kurseong. “Yes, we, too, are being able to get the LPG cylinders refilled once in two months. In fact, we had to get a filled cylinder from our brother in Siliguri to keep the kitchen fire burning,” said Bishal Lama, a resident of Dow Hill in Kurseong.