Gangtok, Oct. 3: An earthquake measuring 5 on the Richter scale jolted Sikkim around 11.43am today forcing people out of their houses.
No damage was reported but the panic was palpable as Sikkim, especially the north, had suffered serious damage in a 6.9-strong quake on September 2011.
Last year, on the anniversary of the quake when people in Gangtok were lining up for a memorial, another, much milder, tremor shook Sikkim. Over 60 people died in the 2011 tremor.
According to the India Meteorological Department website, today’s quake was “moderate” and 10km deep from the surface.
District collector (east) A.K. Singh said the epicentre was near the Teesta Stage V hydel project of the NHPC at Dikchu in East Sikkim, 41km northwest of Gangtok.
The tremors lasted nearly three seconds.
“There are no reports of any deaths or injuries or damage of buildings,” said the secretary of information and public relations department, D. Anandan.
Singh said the tremors shook Gangtok when a meeting on earthquake preparedness was in progress at the secretariat building. “The officers who attended the meeting did not move from their seats. The meeting was called off and I rushed to the district control room on MG Marg,” he said.
Hundreds of people came out of buildings on to MG Marg in a panic. “I was at a shop on MG Marg when the earthquake happened. I ran out along with other customers and the shopkeeper,” said Manihar Begum, a tourist from Calcutta.
Power supply was cut off for an hour after the quake.
Classes in all private and government schools and colleges in Gangtok were suspended today.
“There was no damage at the (Teesta) dam site,” said the junior engineer of NHPC,” Ranjit Kumar Chanchal.