Sikkim quake: Army taking care of 552 people in Chungthang

Sikkim map
Tung (North Sikkim), Sep 22: The army is taking care of 552 quake-hit residents of Chungthang village including staff of Teesta hydel power project in North Sikkim where Sunday's strong temblor left 17 of its 28 employees dead.

Chungthang is still inaccessible by roads due to heavy landslides following the 6.8 magnitude quake, with its epicentre in North Sikkim, left a trail of devastation in the state.

The army has given shelter to 552 people of Chungthang in houses which are still usable, an army officer in Chungthang said.

"Our main duty is to keep the people safe until they can be shifted to safer places," the officer said.

"We gave them food from our ration and after that from the ration provided by the civil administration. We are now trying to restore electricity and connectivity in the entire area," he said.

The officer could not say how many people died in Chungthang but Teesta-Urja Limited, the company implementing the 1200 MW Teesta III project, said 17 of its employees have lost their lives in the quake.

Out of the 28 employees of the company and its contractor, 17 died, one is missing, and 10 have injured, the company said in a press release.

All 10 injured employees have been rescued by relief workers who came in choppers and have been shifted to hospitals in Siliguri or to medical facilities at Chungthang and Mangan areas, it said.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had told reporters in Siliguri yesterday that 14 or 15 persons from the state, who were working in the Teesta Urja project, were feared killed. 

Stating that they were lucky to be in the ''safe hands'' of the army, a senior geologist of the project Soutik Bose said the project area was badly damaged.

"Water has entered the tunnel which we were constructing. We don't know whether anybody is trapped inside or not.

"The other construction sites are also badly damaged. We don't know when we can restore work," Bose, who got a chance to make a call for only a minute from a temporary line set up by the army in the relief camp, told PTI.

It appeared it would take over a week to the open road link to Chungthang which was 10 km from Tung due to numerous landslides along the road, said an army officer of the engineering regiment engaged in clearing the road.


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