Landslides sweep away portions of Mangan-Chungthang road in Sikkim

Gangtok (Sikkim) [India], June 29 (ANI): The border with China in the Sikkim sector has been cut off from the rest of the country after road formations at two different places on the Mangan-Chungthang road in North Sikkim was washed away in landslides following very heavy rain in the past 48 hours.

The rains also triggered a flashflood and multiple landslides in other parts of Sikkim, damaging scores of houses and blocking roads at different places for various lengths of time. However, there has been no report of any loss of life from anywhere in the state so far.

Traffic on the Mangan-Chungthang road had come to a halt since Saturday after portions of the road were washed away near the Mangan police station and Lanthey Khola. However, National Highway 310A that connects Mangan, which is the district headquarters of North, and the state capital Gangtok is open for light vehicular traffic.

The Mangan-Chungthang road is strategic because it connects the border areas of North Sikkim with the rest of the country. In the absence of an alternate road to the border areas, the early restoration of the only road link becomes crucially important, especially at a time of heightened tension between India and China along their borders.

"We are conscious of the need to restore the road link on a priority basis, but the relentless rains are hampering our work. Boulders are continuing to fall, posing a threat to life and limbs. If the weather turns slightly favourable, we should be able to restore the link and facilitate the movement of light vehicles in a day or two," said a source in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which maintains the road.

There, however, is unlikely to be any respite from the rains with the weathermen forecasting more showers for the next five days. "Mangan received 125 millimeters of rain in the 24 hours ending 8:30 am Sunday. North Sikkim is expected to receive more rain - at times heavy - for the next five days," said a Met official.

Elsewhere in the district, a flashflood at Passing dang village in Upper Dzongu damaged a number of houses, including a school building, many more roads have also been blocked by landslides. "A total of 19 houses have been damaged by the flashflood and 35 families evacuated to the Passingdang PHE house. The affected families are being provided ration," said a release issued by the North district administration. (ANI)