Unabated rains hit Sikkim rescue ops, 1,200 tourists stuck | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Unabated rains hit Sikkim rescue ops, 1,200 tourists stuck

Jun 17, 2024 04:56 AM IST

Around 1,200 tourists are stranded in north Sikkim as most parts of the region remained cut off because of damages on roads, bridges.

The Sikkim government’s plan to airlift tourists stranded at Lachung and Chungthang in north Sikkim could not be carried out on Sunday due to rain and inclement weather while most parts of the region remained cut off because of damages on roads, bridges and human habitations suffered during landslides since last weekend, officials said.

The section of a road damaged due to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall at Mangan in North Sikkim on Thursday. (PTI)
The section of a road damaged due to landslides triggered by incessant rainfall at Mangan in North Sikkim on Thursday. (PTI)

With no casualty being reported since Saturday, the death toll in Sikkim remained nine. Of these, six were reported from Mangan district.

Around 1,200 tourists are stranded in north Sikkim, officials said.

At least 200 of them have taken shelter at the Gurdwara at Chungthang while the others are in Lachung.

Also Read | IMD issues red alert for Sikkim, parts of north Bengal as heavy rains continue

With air operations called off for the time being, travel and tour operators and the state government decided to ferry the tourists in vehicles from Lachung to Tung from Monday. The distance is only 13 km but the road is damaged at five locations.

“Several vehicles are already stranded between Tung and Mangan

because of the landslides. The tourists will board these vehicles and disembark at places where the roads are damaged. They will walk to the location where the next batch of vehicles were available” Sonam Lachungpa, president, Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS), said.

Chief minister Prem Singh Tamang said on Saturday that air operation was the only way to evacuate the tourists.

“The weather didn’t allow it. Air lifting the tourists seems impossible at this moment,” a police officer posted at Mangan said.

“The tourists are all safe but many of them are getting restless,” said Tshering Thendup Bhutia, the state tourism minister who is camping at the affected area.

NH-10, the lifeline of Sikkim and Bengal’s Kalimpong district, was closed for vehicles on Sunday since boulders continued to fall from the hillsides, particularly in places like Likhu Vir in Kalimpong.

Balasubramanian T, district magistrate of Kalimpong, said “We are asking people to avoid NH-10 and use alternative routes for their own safety.”

Though water level in the Teesta River has started receding, NH-10 will need repairs at many places, particularly between 27th Mile and Melli, officials said.

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