SILIGURI/KALIMPONG/JALPAIGURI: Heavy rain pounded North Bengal on Wednesday after a low pressure over Bihar intensified into a cyclonic circulation, triggering multiple landslides and a sudden rise in river water level. At least a couple of bridges were damaged and several roads caved in across North Bengal. Two children were swept away by the raging water of Torsha river and hundreds of tourists were left stranded. The Met office has issued a red alert, warning that extremely heavy rainfall will continue in Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Alipurduar even on Thursday. At Jaigaon in Alipurduar, two girls — aged 10 and eight — from the same family were swept away on Wednesday. Cops could not trace their bodies till late on Wednesday. Five deaths have been reported since Monday. Heavy rain has led to damage of multiple bridges. The reinforcement pillars of the Rangpo bridge connecting Bengal with Sikkim were washed away on Wednesday. The authorities limited movement of heavy vehicles but lighter vehicles were allowed to take the bridge. The Balason Bridge along NH 31 at Matigara on the outskirts of Siliguri was damaged as well, leading to cops suspending movement of heavy vehicles on the bridge. Several parts of Kalimpong remained cut off for a major part of the day due to multiple landslides along National Highway-10 between Teesta and Setijhora.

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