Multiple landslides block roads in Sikkim


Multiple landslides triggered by heavy rain blocked several roads across Sikkim, prompting the government to urge residents not to travel unless absolutely necessary, officials said on Thursday.

A massive landslide in 20th Mile area between Singtam and Rangpo in East Sikkim blocked National Highway 20 and cut off Gangtok.

This was the second time this week that the main highway connecting the Sikkim capital with Siliguri in West Bengal was blocked due to a landslide at the same spot in 20th Mile area.

Vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the landslide spot and alternate routes via Pakyong and Pandam have also been blocked at several locations due to multiple landslides.

East Sikkim district authorities said it may take some time to clear the landslide at 20th Mile as heavy rain has hampered the clearing process, and loose rocks are continuously falling on the road.

Roads have also been blocked at 10th Mile in Ravangla, Melli-Phongla Road via Rateypani in Jorethang, Pakyong-Machong, Lalturning-Andheri Road, Rongli-Chujachen Road and Rorathang-Rongli Road in Pakyong district, Jorethang-Manpur and Jorethang-Namchi roads in South Sikkim and 5th Mile at Omchung in West Sikkim.

The Roads and Bridges Department issued an advisory asking people not to travel unless absolutely necessary since incessant rain has loosened rocks and cliffs, making them prone to landslides.

It said many roads have been damaged throughout the state and the department is working to restore road connectivity at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army has rescued 74 tourists, including women and children, stranded in Yumthang Valley in North Sikkim, a defence release said.

No casualty was reported in the landslide, it said.

Jawans of the Trishakti Corps on Wednesday rescued the tourists upon receiving information about them getting stranded due to a massive landslide 19 km from Yumthang Valley, the release said.

Eight tourist vehicles got stuck due to the landslide, following which a footpath was created with wooden planks and ropes, and a human chain was formed to rescue the tourists, it said.

They were escorted to safety and provided with food and medical care, it added.


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