Multiple landslides block roads in Sikkim

Multiple landslides block roads in Sikkim

Multiple landslides triggered by heavy rains have blocked several roads in Sikkim, prompting the government to urge residents not to travel unless absolutely necessary, authorities said Thursday.

A massive landslide in the 20th Mile area between Singtam and Rangpo in East Sikkim has blocked National Highway 20 and isolated Gangtok.

This was the second time this week that the main road connecting Sikkim’s capital with Siliguri in West Bengal was blocked due to a landslide at the same location in the 20th Mile area.

Vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the landslide site and alternative routes through Pakyong and Pandam have also been blocked in several places due to multiple landslides.

East Sikkim district authorities said it may take some time to clean up the 20th Mile landslide as heavy rain has hampered the clean-up process and loose rocks continually fall onto the road.

Roads at 10th Mile in Ravangla, Melli-Phongla Road through Rateypani in Jorethang, Pakyong-Machong, Lalturning-Andheri Road, Rongli-Chujachen Road and Rorathang-Rongli Road in Pakyong district, Jorethang- Manpur and Jorethang-Namchi. in South Sikkim and 5th Mile in Omchung in West Sikkim.

The Department of Roads and Bridges issued an advisory asking people not to travel unless absolutely necessary, as incessant rain has loosened rocks and cliffs, making them prone to landslides.

He said many roads have been damaged across the state and the department is working to restore road connectivity as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army rescued 74 tourists, including women and children, stranded in the Yumthang Valley in north Sikkim, according to a defense statement.

No casualties were reported in the landslide, he said.

Jawans from the Trishakti Corps rescued the tourists on Wednesday after receiving information that they were stranded due to a massive landslide 19 km from the Yumthang Valley, according to the statement.

Eight tourist vehicles were stuck in the collapse, after which a path was cut with wooden planks and ropes, and a human chain was formed to rescue the tourists, he said.

They were escorted to safety and given food and medical care, he added.