Stranded tourists airlifted after rain halts in North Sikkim

first_imgDarjeeling: With the rains receding, evacuation of tourists was carried out by the Indian Army and Air Force in North Sikkim. National Highways 10, 31 and 31 C were restored, connecting Sikkim, Kalimpong and parts of Dooars with Siliguri.Connectivity of Sikkim and parts of Jalpaiguri remained cut off from Siliguri, owing to multiple landslides on National Highway 10, 31 and 31 C since Friday night, triggered by incessant rainfall. At many places the roads were washed away, while in others debris and rocks blocked the roads. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe worst affected was North Sikkim, with road connectivity between Mangan to Chungthang being totally damaged. Bridges were also washed away. The road from Gangtok to Mangan was also affected, resulting in tourists being stranded in Lachung, Chatten and Chungthang in North Sikkim.On Sunday, Trishakti Corps of the Indian Army and Indian Air Force, in coordination with civil administration, commenced air evacuation of tourists stranded in North Sikkim. On request of aid by the civil administration, helicopters of Army Aviation and Air Force were pressed into service. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe helicopters flew several sorties to Gangtok and Sevok. Around 100 persons including senior citizens, children, tourists and the sick were evacuated. Medical aid was also provided to people requiring medical assistance before they were airlifted.”The Indian Army has also made necessary arrangements for tents, blankets and food for the stranded tourists,” stated an Army release.”With rains receding on Sunday, evacuation operations were possible. Work is on to open up the roads. Heavy machinery including earth movers have been pressed into service. It will take around 14 days to repair the road from Mangan to Chungthang and around 3 days to restore road connectivity from Mangan to Gangtok. GREF is working on a war footing,” stated Karma Bonpo, District Collector, North District, Sikkim, while talking to Millennium Post. The situation in Mangan in North Sikkim has improved considerably, with water supply and electricity being restored. Some houses have been damaged. Families residing in 3 buildings in Mangan were evacuated. “However no loss of life has been reported,” added the DC.”We have been working on a war footing to open up the NH 10, 31 and 31 C in West Bengal. Earth moving and cutting machinery has been pressed into service,” stated Uttam Pradhan, Assistant Engineer, NH.It was a trying time for both locals and tourists on Saturday. While many waited on the roads, others tried to negotiate the slide near Sevok by crossing over on foot.last_img read more

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