Sevoke/Siliguri (West Bengal) Sep 5 (ANI): Continuous erosion by Teesta River poses a grave threat to the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary and the National Highway along with numerous settlements on its way in Sevoke in West Bengal.
The river Teesta as it flows along the forestland makes meandering channels and the down current is so heavy that it erodes away huge tracts of land every year. The Mahananda sanctuary has already lost large tracts of forestland to the river water.
"Regarding the river Teesta, it poses two threats, one is, for the forest, the Mahananda wildlife sanctuary, along most part of the sanctuary and the other is to the national highway 31 along with the settlements," said Subir Sarkar, meteorologist, Siliguri.
According to experts, the main reason for the loss of soil is the excessive down cutting by the river. The erosion has been taking place for the past ten years, and has now become a big threat to the flora and fauna, and the people from the various settlements in the area as well.
"The erosion has only been increasing for the past ten years because of the Teesta. The NH 31 is the lifeline of Sikkim. The erosion has been happening in the stretch of almost half a kilometre along the highway," said Animesh Bose, secretary, Himalayan nature and adventure foundation.
Residents complain that they have lost acres of land and they are living under constant fear.
"Acres of land have been eroded. There is more danger to our village than to the forest. Our village is being affected the most, there is a lot of inconvenience," said Dorji Sherpa, a resident.
Spread over an area of 159 square kilometres, the Mahananda Wildlife sanctuary situated at the foothills of the Darjeeling Himalayas is home to various animals such as elephants, the one horned rhinoceros, leopards, spotted deer sloth bear, wild dog, boar. The forest also has a dense growth of teak and sal trees. (ANI)