Mangan, 18 Jun:
People living along the Teesta, stretching from Dikchu, to Pheedang, Makha, Singtam, Rangpo, etc. had a nightmarish Monday night with the river in full spate, floating down debris and swelling to a size not seen in recent years. The Stage III and Stage V dams had opened their sluice gates to allow the inundation and the debris it carried to flow on without damaging the dams, and the bulging Teesta which they battered the valley had everyone along its banks on tenterhooks.
The Teesta was at its most furious around midnight when it washed away the NHPC guest house located near Dikchu Bridge and also cleaved away the retaining wall below Dikchu Mangan highway.
Fortunately, no casualties were reported because the area had been kept on alert since morning.
Meanwhile, the heavy Rongyong Chu flowing through Dzongu into the Teesta washed away the suspension bridge at Mantam Lake and has cut off 13 villages on the far bank.
The suspension bridge was the only lifeline for the people here since the road leading to the Lingdem on the left bank of the Mantam Lake has also been damaged by a landslide.
The area MLA, Forest Minister Karma Loday Bhutia, and the HRDD Minister, Kunga Nima Lepcha, along with the NHPC Teesta V officials visited the spot at Dikchu New Market where the NHPC guest house located at the confluence of river Teesta and Bakcha was washed away last night.
Both the Ministers directed the NHPC officials to undertake protective measures.
A suspension bridge below Simchuthang Mangley near 3rd IRBn training camp which connects South Sikkim with East Sikkim was also washed away last night.
The State Relief Commissioner, the DC East and his team, SDM Namchi inspected Singtam Adarsh Gaon and the NHPC damsite to compute impact of the flash flood.
Meanwhile, issuance of tourist permits to Lachen, Lachung and Dzongu have been suspended owing to the poor weather conditions, the DC North, Raj Yadav, informs.
The DC also informed that around 250 tourists stranded at Zema beyond Lachen due to road blocked were being evacuated to Lachen by GREF and ITBP personnel.
The heavy rain also damaged the RCC building belonging to Pemduk Lepcha of Rong Rong, Mangzing ward of Upper Dzongu even as roads in Dzongu have been damaged at several places. The approach road between Passingdang and its PHC was blocked by a landslide as was the road to Mangzing in Upper Dzongu along with the road to Lum in Lower Dzongu.
Efforts were underway to clear the roads as soon as possible.