Two-lane RCC bridge across Mantam sanctioned, State tells HC

Gangtok, 13 Dec:

The state government has sanctioned a two-lane permanent RCC bridge to connect Upper Dzongu with the rest of the State across the Mantam lake. Following the Mantam landslide on 13 August last year which dammed the Rongyong Chu into a massive lake at Mantam, several villages under the three Gram Panchayat Units of Upper Dzongu like Sakyong-Pentong, Tingvong and Lingthem-Lingdem were cut-off, it may be recalled.

The proposal was sanctioned by the state government in principle after the High Court of Sikkim intervened and passed several orders to address the problems being faced by people living in Upper Dzongu.

Today, the state government, in follow-up to earlier orders of the High Court, informed the Court that the government has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 49,05,75,000 for construction of an RCC bridge and said that necessary steps will be taken at the earliest to expedite the work.

Additional Advocate General, JB Pradhan, informed the division bench of High Court headed by Chief Justice Satish Kumar Agnihotri and Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai stating that the Government has already taken a decision to establish two-lane permanent RCC bridge connecting the people living on the other side of the lake.

The bench in its order said that the Suspension Foot Bridge shall be installed to facilitate the movement of goods and basic necessities to the people, who are stranded on the other side of Mantam lake without vehicular access.

The court has directed the state government to file an affidavit within two weeks on installation of the Suspension Foot Bridge to facilitate the movement of goods and basic necessities to the people.

On supply of a copy to the Amicus as well as the Advocate, as Intervener, they are are expected to seek instructions and submit a report, within two weeks, thereafter.

The bench has also relieved SP Bhutia as Amicus Curiae, after he was recently appointed as judicial officer and appointed senior counsel N Rai along with Tamanna Chettri to assist the court in place of Mr. Bhutia.

N Rai is already representing the community as intervener seeking court permission to maintain the lake as a tourist attraction. The State Govt, it may be recalled, plans to drain the lake.

It may be recalled that the Syok Bhir landslide of 13 August had blocked the Rongyong Chu and formed a lake at 4 Mile, Mantam. Fourteen houses were submerged along with a bridge that cut off three GPUs comprising of thirteen villages from the rest of the state.