Sikkim: Govt. seeks ISRO assistance to monitor lakes

Gangtok: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been approached by the Sikkim government for assistance in monitoring its lakes amidst the current crisis the state is facing. The request aims to seek ISRO’s assistance in providing crucial satellite surveillance over South Lhonak Lake and Shako Chu Lake, both of which have posed potential threats following recent natural calamities.

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Sikkim’s Chief Secretary, V. B. Pathak, held a crucial virtual meeting with Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Monday to address pressing concerns in the aftermath of recent natural disasters in the state. During the meeting, Pathak highlighted the telecommunications problems that have been hampering rescue and relief operations in the region.

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) had formulated plans, in collaboration with the army, to deploy five Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) units and technicians via helicopter to strategic locations such as Lachen, Lachung, Chungthang, Chatten, and Theng. These efforts are aimed at restoring communication links, which have been severely disrupted due to the calamities.

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Furthermore, Chief Secretary Pathak expressed grave concerns about the extensive damage caused by flooding, particularly the destruction of the Army Ammunition Depot at Munshithang, located above Chungthang. The resultant spillover has led to the Teesta basin being inundated with weapons, ammunition, and explosives, posing a significant risk to the local populace and complicating debris and sludge removal, especially in residential areas adjacent to the riverbanks.

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In response to these challenges, the Sikkim government has initiated contact with the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), requesting satellite surveillance over South Lhonak Lake and Shako Chu Lake. This proactive approach aims to monitor these water bodies for any potential activities that could potentially lead to another catastrophic event, thereby enhancing the region’s disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

Also Read | Sikkim floods: Evacuation underway in Lachen, Lachung

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