11 landslides in North Sikkim, restoration of roads delayed

Report by: 
DEEPAK SHARMA and SUJAL PRADHAN
MANGAN / GANGTOK
14 Sep 2018

North Sikkim is reeling under as many as 11 landslides in the wake of heavy rains over the past sx days, but still there is no action plan to restore the roads in the affected areas. People forced to travel on these roads are transhipping by foot at their own risk and vehicles are stranded at many places for days together. Restoration work is delayed as the General Reserve Enginering Force is handicapped by a shortage of excavators.
Among the landslides, as many as seven are between Ambithang and Rangrang, cutting off the road to Gangtok. There are also two landslides on the Candey – Sankalang Road and two between Rafong Khola and Manul in Mandan district.
An official release said a high level team led by State Forest Minister Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, Sub-Divisional Magistrates of Mangan and Dzongu and police personnel on Thursday surveyed the areas in North Sikkim affected by landslides to assess the situation. Tarpaulin sheets have been provided to cover the slip areas and residents have been asked to shift to safer locations. Meanwhile, A fresh alert for heavy rains in North Sikkim Meteorological Department has increased concern.
The North District Administration was monitoring the situation to provide relief and rescue measures. Schools in North District were directed to be shut on Friday to ensure the safety of the students. The administration was also coordinating with power project authorities and monitoring the situation round the clock. Relief and ex-gratia as per norms will be released to the affected people, the district authorities informed.
As per repors with the District Administration, over 100 houses were damaged in the whole district during the last two days. About 50 houses were hit by andslides, a few of them were severely damaged. The condition of the houses near Rafong Jhora are grim as the landslips in the areas have become active. North Sikkim  has been experiencing heavy rains since the past few days.
Places like Dzongu, Mangan, Lachen, Mangshilla and other areas in North Sikkim are totally cut off from other parts of the State due to landslides. The District headquarters of Mangan has been cut off from Gangtok via Kabi Road due to the landslide at Ambithang. The Ambithang Jhora is flowing in fully spate and culverts have been damaged but the alternative highway from Singtam is open.
The road between Mangan and Chungthang was cut off after the bridge was washed off at Rafong Khola. There are many blockades on the Mangan-Chungthang Road and the newly launched bailey bridge near Toong has also been damaged. The road network in Dzongu has been damaged at multiple places with major landslides. The entire areas of Upper Dzongu have been cut off due to landslides near Mantam Lake which was formed before last year after major landslip informed North District Collector, Karma R.Bonpo.