Sikkim floods: 52 Chungthang residents get Rs 1 lakh each for house damages

Chungthang: Fifty-two Chungthang residents who lost their homes in the October 3 Glacial Lake Outburst Flood received Rs 1 lakh each as ‘initial relief’ from Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay.

The CM managed to visit Chungthang 19 days after the disaster, with roads connecting Chungthang ravaged across the Teesta Basin.

The chief minister also declared a 10-month rent relaxation for the non-permanent residents of Chungthang, with 161 such families receiving Rs 20,000 each.

Most Chungthang residents blamed the Teesta Urja Stage 3 dam for destroying the Chungthang town. Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay had earlier claimed that the future of the Chungthang dam would be left to the people. He, however, highlighted the need for power supply, placing importance on the 1200 MW former dam, the biggest in the state.

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“It was perhaps the wrong decision of the previous government to construct a dam in Chungthang when Lachen and Lachung villages further uphill declined the power project. Many in Chungthang opposed the dam construction. However, the previous government lured few people with employment opportunities and one-storey houses for people, to lure them into dam construction. We will not make such luring acts against the people. If the people of Chungthang oppose the reconstruction, we will abide by their decision,” the CM said today.

The residents of Chungthang also place demands for the reconstruction of both fully and partially damaged houses, with many non-permanent residents needing a place to stay. Similarly, the government school in Chungthang was also destroyed. They also placed the need for garbage, slush and debris disposal areas away from Chungthang as citizens claimed that they could not clear the debris in the presence of swept ammunition of the Indian Army spread across Chungthang town.

Chungthang Panchayat President Deeki Lepcha submitted the demands of the people to the CM, she informed, “There is a need for a new power department office, there is a need for permanent protection wall across Teesta basin from Munshithang to as far as Theng further down the hill.  Many homes now don’t have drainage facilities. There is a need for footpaths connecting villages, there is a need for suspension bridges, telecommunication and national highway restoration.”

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Lachen Mangan MLA Samdup Lepcha, in his address, highlighted the relief efforts done so far. The legislator highlighted that road connectivity to Lachen will take at least two months. 

Also Read | Indian Army, BRO build bailey bridge; reconnect isolated North Sikkim

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