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Highest cyber cafe under snow

Gangtok, March 1: Business has been suspended near the India-China border as the Sherathang trade mart close to Nathu-la remains covered under a blanket of snow.

A week ago, the area near the border experienced the heaviest snowfall this year, when it snowed for three consecutive days. Even now, the place is buried under a white layer, as the flakes continue to fall, but at a much slower rate. The worst affected is the highest permanent cyber café in the world the mention of which can be found in the Limca Book of World Records 2007 situated at an altitude of 13,600 ft.

Located at the Sherathang trade mart, 8 km below Nathu-la, the café was set up by the community information centre of the Sikkim information technology (IT) department. Chief secretary of the hill state N.D. Chingapa inaugurated it on April 21, 2006 and since then, it has been a huge help for traders, tourists as well as army personnel.

The shed of the café has been covered by a deep layer of snow, which has even affected the satellite-dish receiver. The V-SAT connection has also snapped.

As the news of the break-down reached Gangtok, officials of the state commerce and industries department deployed four labourers to remove the snow, but even that seems to have been useless. Following complaints from the IT department, 10 labourers have been put to work.

The Sikkim commerce and industries director, S.P. Subba, today said an inspection team, led by district collector (East) Vishal Chauhan, is likely to leave for Sherathang tomorrow to look into the damages caused by the snow. They will take an account of the damages and the repairs that need to be conducted there before border trade starts in June, Subba said.

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