Nepal spill over along Sikkim border very slim

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Gangtok, Sep 20 (UNI) Though security alert has been sounded in five border states, following political disturbances in Nepal, chances of spill over into Sikkim is slim due to its topographical and demographical disadvantages, observed key officials here.

Sikkim's west district shares a 99km border with east Nepal at around 10,500 ft out of which only 54 kms is negotiable but very remote. Rest falls under areas over 11,000 ft in the foothills of Singalila range where conditions are very harsh.

Population within the border areas on both sides is negligible with only few shepherds moving around with their yak herds. The nearest populated area on the India-Nepal border is Utteray in West Sikkim which is around three hours walking distance over a steep gradient. Another area Ripdi in West Sikkim has a sizeable population and is almost the same distance from the border.

Recent downpour has triggered several slides along the borders thereby making it difficult for cross border movement, said West District officials. People from Nepal need to posses proper documents before crossing into West Sikkim where they share matrimonial alliances with the locals.

Sikkim Armed Police(SAP) has an outpost at Chewyabhanjyang(10,500 ft) near the border where all documents of the Nepalese nationals are scrutinised.

The 24th Battalion of Sasharta Seema Bal(SSB), which looks after the border security aspects is well positioned to guard the Sikkim-Nepal border. It had its outposts in Utteray, Ripdi and Nambu, which are all major arterial routes leading to the border.

Though chances of spillover from Nepal are slim due to remoteness of the area, SSB has intensified and beefed up its presence at the border, official sources said.

''No additional forces have been deployed there and we have enough manpower,'' said a senior SSB official.

West District Collector NK Jha said that all necessary measures were being taken as per the instructions of the government.

Sikkim police has also taken necessary measures to strengthen its border outposts.

UNI

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