Sikkim landslides: Stranded tourists being evacuated by road | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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Sikkim landslides: Stranded tourists being evacuated by road

Jun 18, 2024 05:00 PM IST

Around 1,200 tourists, including some foreign nationals, were stranded in North Sikkim after heavy rains triggered landslides in several places cutting off the areas from the rest of the state

The Sikkim government has started evacuating the tourists stranded in various parts of North Sikkim by road after airlift rescue operations failed to start due to inclement weather.

tranded tourists being evacuated in rain-hit Sikkim's Mangan district on Tuesday. (PTI)
tranded tourists being evacuated in rain-hit Sikkim's Mangan district on Tuesday. (PTI)

Around 1,200 tourists, including some foreign nationals, were stranded in areas such as Lachung and Chungthang in North Sikkim after heavy rains triggered landslides in several places cutting off the areas from the rest of the state.

“At least 65 tourists were evacuated and brought to Gangtok city on Monday. Another 150 tourists, stranded at Chungthang, were evacuated on Tuesday morning and were being brought to Mangan. Around 200 tourists, have been brought down from Lachung to Chungthang,” said Sonam Detchu Bhutia, superintendent of police (SP) of Mangan district in North Sikkim.

At least nine people have died in landslides in North Sikkim and South Sikkim since June 13. Several houses were damaged, power and communication lines were snapped, and roads and bridges were washed away by landslides and the swelling River Teesta.

Airlift rescue operations failed to take off as rains continued in various parts of the state. Choppers of the Indian Air Force were in standby at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal to fly to North Sikkim to evacuate tourists.

“We decided to evacuate them in groups from Lachung and Chungthang via roads from Monday,” said Tshering Thendup Bhutia, tourism minister of Sikkim.

Officials said that roads have been washed away at multiple places. The stranded tourists will have to walk at three to four places and board vehicles in between and reach the district headquarters Mangan. There are stranded vehicles in between Tung and Mangan and the tourists will board those vehicles to reach Mangan. The road connectivity from Gangtok to Mangan was open.

“It would take months to restore the road connectivity in North Sikkim. By Tuesday evening hundreds of tourists would be evacuated,” said Nar Bahadur Dahal, Sikkim roads and bridges minister who is monitoring the situation sitting at Chungthang.

“The day I reached Lachung, it was raining heavily. I got stuck. But the state government made us feel at home, as we didn’t have to pay any money for food and accommodation. Local people, Sikkim police and army were really helpful,” said Nagarjun Reddy, one of the stranded tourists who hails from Hyderabad.

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