Syok Bhir landslide: A year later
Dzongu, 12 Aug:
The infamous Syok Bhir landslide which occurred exactly 365 days ago on 13 Aug last year cut off several villages under the three Gram Panchayat Units of Upper Dzongu like Sakyong-Pentong, Tingvong and Lingthem-Lingdem in North Sikkim.
On the anniversary of the landslide and creation of what is now known as the Mantam lake, let's take a look at what has been done so far.
Relief and rehabilitation
Immediately after the disaster, the government pressed into action relief and rehabilitation measures while Non Governmental Organizations flocked to the area to provide services to the affected people. Countless functions were organized to raise funds and help the cut off villages in every way possible. Essential commodities were being ferried on motor rafts across the lake.
An alternate route to connect Lingdem and Kayam was opened recently. The government also sanctioned the bridge from Kayam to Tingvong since the bridge at Mantam was submerged in the lake.
The Mantam Lake conundrum
The people of the cut off villages have demanded that the lake be retained for tourism purposes hoping to open up livelihood opportunities for the people of the area in the field of tourism. They also filed a petition seeking retention of the lake in the High Court of Sikkim. On the other hand, the task force committee set up by the government advised draining of the lake for the safety of the people living downstream.
The process to drain the lake was begun but stopped a month later due to the onset of the monsoon season. However, they did control breaching from the left bank of river where blasting of big boulders was done.
A year later
The affected people of the landslide are still longing for a roof above their heads. Houses of the affected people are yet to be constructed as announced by the Chief Minister during his visit to the affected area post the landslide. Mantam Primary School which is currently functioning in Passingdang Secondary School is yet to be restored.