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Girl buried in fresh landslide after rain

Gangtok, Sept. 10: Heavy rain last night triggered landslides that led to the death of one person in Sikkim.

Seventeen-year-old Sapna Rai died while her sister Rupa sustained multiple injuries on her face when a landslide struck their house at Rhodong village near Rhey in East Sikkim, 10km from here.

The incident occurred around 3.30am today when the two girls were deep in sleep. There were eight others living in the house.

Rupa, 15, has been admitted to Sir Thutob Namgyal Memorial Hospital here. She needed 18 stitches on her cheeks. At present, she has been declared out of danger by doctors. The other members of the family, who suffered minor injuries, were released after first aid.

The family, whose house was completely destroyed in the landslide, has been temporarily accommodated elsewhere by the owner of the land. The district administration has asked the panchayat to include the family on the list of people who must be provided houses under the Indira Awas Yojna.

The state remained besieged by the problem of roads being blocked by landslips. State government officials met today to coordinate the immediate needs and assuage the crisis. The meeting was convened by Sikkim chief secretary N.D. Chingapa in his chamber at the Tashiling secretariat this morning. Officials and representatives from the Army and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) were also present.

The meeting discussed the overall situation, taking stock of the damage caused by the rains and the state of essential commodities and fuel in the wake of the blocked roads.

Later, East district collector Chauhan reviewed the road situation with Colonel Ajay Singh, a senior army official, in the control room of the disaster management cell. They also attempted to find alternative routes for commuters. According to Singh, the BRO is likely to restore the NH 31A by building a Bailey bridge at Tarkhola by tomorrow evening. The highway was disrupted after 30m of a bridge was washed away. At present, people are using the longer route through Darjeeling.

After the meeting, Chauhan told The Telegraph that 200 LPG cylinders are being sent to Namchi, while 100 and 300 cylinders have been assigned to Jorethang and Gangtok respectively to tide over the fuel crisis.

He also said 20 kilolitres of petrol and 25 kilolitres of diesel would reach the state today to meet the need for fuel as the stock at the depot in Rangpo is fast depleting.

The army is working in close coordination with the administration to tide over any crisis in the supply of essential items. Chauhan also said no vehicles carrying construction material will be permitted on the national highway or other routes for the next seven days to ease traffic.

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