With a major earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale rocking Sikkim at 6.10 pm Sunday evening, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to state chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and offered help in all ways, including availability of defence forces.
The PM directed the Cabinet Secretary to call an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority, PMO sources said.
Five IAF aircraft have been pressed into service for relief operations.
Of these, two C-130J Hercules aircraft have been deployed from Hindon to Bagdogra airbase, while two AN-32 aircraft along with another Avro aircraft have been sent for relief operations in Sikkim, an Indian Air Force spokesperson said.
The Sikkim government has sought the help of the Army. "Army's assistance have been sought after the earthquake. The reports of damage from parts of the state have been coming to the control room," Principal Secretary to Sikkim Chief Minister's Office RS Basnet told PTI.
Seven people were reported killed and about 50 injured till reports last came in. Five people were also reported killed in Nepal. Two ITBP buildings collapsed in Pegong area of north Sikkim, reports said. Landslides and road blockade were also reported.
The epicentre of the quake was on Sikkim-Nepal border, but it shook almost entire north and north-east India.
Power and water supplies snapped at several places by the quake. Most of the buildings in Gangtok developed major cracks and people were seen moving to the Paljor stadium and other open areas. The situation was aggravated as it has been raining continuously for the last three days.
Telephone lines went dead and mobile networks got jammed in Gangtok, which plunged into darkness following a major power failure.
In Assam one woman was injured in Dhubri district on Assam-Bengal border, buildings developed cracks in various parts of the state and electric poles fell. Short-circuits were reported and mobile and land telephone services were disrupted across the state. The quake was also felt in Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Haryana, Rajasthan and parts of MP.
In Delhi too, the tremor was felt in certain parts, the second such experience within a fortnight after people were jolted around midnight on September 7.