Gangtok: Sikkim continues to bear the brunt of incessant rains, with over 16 landslides reported along the NH 10 in Sikkim and West Bengal. The major cut off has been the 20th Mile stretch between Rangpo and Singtam in East Sikkim, cutting away the commute between Gangtok to West Bengal.

To make matters worse, around 2 am on October 20, the Rangpo bridge, which connects Sikkim with North Bengal, lost its supporting pillars. On Wednesday morning, Rangpo bridge was deemed unfit for the movement of heavy vehicles by the Sikkim Police deputed at the State border with North Bengal at Rangpo.

District Magistrate, East District Administration, Ragul K. took stock of the situation at the border town. The district magistrate along with the general manager of The National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) from Kalimpong and disaster management authorities from Sikkim conducted a joint inspection.

Speaking to the local media, the DM stated, “The additional support given to Rangpo bridge got washed out. But the inspection can conclude that the Rangpo Bridge is safe. The movement of traffic will not be a problem. We have decided to allow the movements of light vehicles immediately. The movement of heavy vehicles would be regulated. It will be in coordination with Kalimpong District and East Sikkim District.”

Elsewhere, the new upcoming bridge in Rangpo, supposedly made as a multi-lane with railway tracks, was also brought in the discussion, wherein the DM Ragul K. stated, “The new bridge under construction will take 2-3 months to complete. Most likely by the end of this year. The target time is December 31. Until then, to protect the existing bridge, they (NHIDCL) have given additional support, sometime in the last month.”

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