Sat. May 18th, 2024

Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has attributed the destruction of the Chungthang Dam, a 1200 MW hydroelectric project, to “inferior construction” by the previous state government. The dam was washed away in flash floods caused by a glacial lake outburst over South Lhonak Lake. So far, 19 lives have been lost.

Tamang stated that the sub-standard work done by the Sikkim Democratic Front government during its 24-year tenure is responsible for the tragedy. He emphasized that the dam collapsed due to the poor construction, exacerbating the floods in Lower Sikkim.

The Chief Minister also revealed that significant damage has been reported across the state. He mentioned that areas such as the Chunthang Dam have suffered major destruction, but the full extent is still unknown due to the inaccessibility of Lower Sikkim caused by washed-out roads and destroyed bridges. 13 bridges over Teesta River have been swept away.

Tamang mentioned that his government is collaborating with the central government to airlift relief and rescue teams. However, bad weather conditions have hindered rescue operations. He assured that they will prioritize the rescue of the approximately 3,000 stranded tourists.

Regarding rebuilding efforts, the Chief Minister stated that they will establish a team of technical experts to guide the process. He emphasized that the disaster is of significant magnitude and will require extensive efforts to recover.

Tamang informed that he has already communicated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who have offered their full support. Prime Minister Modi expressed his assurance and prayed for the safety and well-being of those affected.

The floods, which occurred on Wednesday, have claimed the lives of 19 people, including seven soldiers. Farms and villages have been swept away, and over 100 people, including 15 Army personnel, are still missing. Around 2,500 individuals have been evacuated, with nearly 6,000 people shifted to relief camps.

The Sikkim government has issued a warning about the potential glacial lake outburst of Shako Cho Lake near Lachen. Authorities have started evacuating residents from surrounding areas as a precautionary measure.

In addition, the government has alerted about the possibility of “stray explosions” as a result of the floods impacting an Army ammunitions depot. Two people have already lost their lives after being struck by explosives washed away by the floodwaters.

By admin