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50km trek for father hunt

Adesh Kumar

Gangtok, Sept. 27: A 15-year-old boy walked 50km for five days to reach Chungthang last night to look for his father, missing after a landslide at the Teesta hydel project site on September 21.

Adesh Kumar found that rescue work was yet to start at the Teesta Stage III Hydel Project as the road has been washed away by the flash flood.

Biswanath Ram, his 47-year-old father, is among the missing. One person at the project site has so far been declared dead in the flash flood and landslip last week. Across North Sikkim, 12 people have died.

Adesh, a Class VII student of Dikchu Senior School, walked for five days from Jang in East Sikkim to Chungthang. “I reached Chungthang last night around 8 and found that there has been no effort to search for my father,” Adesh told The Telegraph over phone. He was at the project office 1km from the site where relief workers have not been able to reach. Adesh’s family hails from Motihari district in Bihar.

Biswanath was an operator with the Gujarat-based General Mechanical Workers’ Company (GMWC) and he had been staying in Sikkim since last year. He was working on site as hydropower developer Teesta Urja had sublet the work of a tunnel construction for the project to the GMWC.

Biswanath’s wife and four children stay in Jang. Adesh is the second son. The boy walked from Jang to Mangan, 19km away, with mother Saili Devi. “We got to know about the flash flood from one of my father’s colleagues and we decided to walk as there are no vehicles plying because of multiple landslides. My mother and I started early on Saturday. She could not walk beyond Mangan so I told her to go back and I walked till Chungthang. I asked for shelter from local people on the way during the nights.”

Adesh said his father was the only earning member in the family.

Sikkim relief commissioner S.B.S. Bhadhuria said: “Two workers from GMWC are missing. One is Biswanath, the other is Amarjit Singh. The third person, also from GMWC, succumbed to injuries while he was being airlifted to Gangtok.”

A GMWC employee said the landslide had washed away almost the entire dam site, making excavation work difficult. “The first priority is to reach the spot as the road leading to the site has been washed away by the flash flood.”