Mangan, 27 Mar:

Dzongu MLA, Deputy Speaker Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, along with District Collector, North, Karma R Bonpo, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Dzongu, Tshering Dorjee Bhutia, and the district officials today visited the affected houses damaged by the unexpected explosion at Himagiri Project site which had rocked the area on Saturday night at Lingzya.

Himagiri, the project developer, has a warehouse to store explosives at Lingzya.

Since the construction of the Power Project has been suspended since 2008, they had approached to the Controller of Explosives at Kolkata to dispose the expired explosives stored in the warehouse.

The Controller of Explosives had nominated an expert to destroy the explosives at the warehouse site. While disposing the explosives by the explosive expert on 24 Mar, a blast occurred which led to the damage of property of the public of Linzya.

The Panchayats and public have complained that they were being ignored as no senior officials from Himagiri have turned up and visited the area yet. They further pointed that the project developer has flouted norms and that proper investigation was required.

It was further informed that they have asked for medical relief first as a medical camp is required immediately for patients who have suffered due to the explosion.

The Deputy Speaker inspected each and every house and interacted with the Panchayats and public.

“Whatever damage has been caused will be compensated. I am engaged in some unavoidable circumstances so I was not able to visit the area the very next day,” informed Mr Lepcha.

He further urged the District Administration for strict investigation into the matter.

Addressing the gathering of the public at the Gram Prashashan Kendra, the District Collector stated that the District Administration had reached the site immediately and assessed the situation.

He said that the cause of the explosion is being investigated and the SDM Dzongu has been directed to conduct a detailed inquiry and submit a report.

He stated that all immediate relief to people on account of the damages will be paid by the Power project. He also directed the SDM Dzongu to survey all the damages to the properties and submit a damage compensation statement which will be paid by the Power Project.

He informed that necessary action as per law will be taken by the District Administration after the report is submitted by SDM Dzongu.

The area has been sealed and the remaining 1,570 detonators will be destroyed in consultation with the appointed agency, the DC said.

The DC further informed that the houses damaged by the unexpected explosion will be surveyed from 28 Mar for the process of compensation.

The representative of the Himagiri Power Project stated that all compensation amount to the damaged household, as assessed the District Administration will be immediately paid by the company.

Medical Officer of Passingdang PHC has been directed to send patients immediately to Central Referral Hospital, Gangtok including one pregnant woman. The medical expenses will be borne by the company, it is informed.

The company also disbursed immediate ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh in cash for immediate relief and medical help to the people along with additional Rs 50,000 to conduct prayers in the area.

Since the said power project was not operational, the company’s higher officials are not stationed in the area except a local manager and another staff. The representative of the company has informed that the company CEO will be arriving today.

The public and Panchayat have also placed the application to DC North today stating for proper inquiry of the incident so that no such incident occurs in the future.