Strategic road link cut off due to landslide in Sikkim

Gangtok, Sep.4 (ANI): Incessant rains in the last few weeks have caused extensive landslides in Sikkim, as on Saturday, vehicular traffic on the road connecting Gangtok with Nathu La located along the India-China border came to a standstill due to landslides.

Named the Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, the road holds high strategic importance for the movement of troops and their supplies.

It is also viewed as important for cross border trade and tourists who enjoy the rare experience of visiting the Nathu La Pass.

The worst affected spot has been "the 17th mile" where the road has been washed away to the extent of around 350 metres.

Reportedly, a gradient has slid down by 50 to 60 metres and a portion of the army barracks was badly damaged by the landslide.

Hundreds of tourists have been stranded at the spot of landslide and the entire highway presented a scenario of crammed with vehicles.

Tourists here lamented that the landslides have upset their vacation plans, forcing a majority among them to return home.

"The guests (hotel guests) are being helped by the hotel staff. But the others have to cross the hills themselves. That's why we are facing a lot of problems," said Praveen, a tourist.

Besides, big cracks have developed in several houses due to the incessant rains over the past few days while many roads are in a bad shape.

Police personnel were seen helping the tourists to cross the hills, as cars could not ply on the road.

The road has been blocked since Friday (September 02) and continues to be in a pathetic condition.

Similar incidents of landslides have been reported in the last few days.

The Mangan-Singtam Highway, which is the lifeline between east and north Sikkim, has been blocked for over a week due to landslides.

Meanwhile, in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed before the Sikkim High Court, the Border Roads Organisation that builds and maintains strategic roads has sought three weeks time to file an affidavit about the action it had taken in restoring road links. By Tashi Pradhan (ANI)

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