The Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) and the NHPC will jointly ascertain the loss of properties in Kalimpong district because of the flash flood in the Teesta on October 4, while the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which functions under the defence ministry, has started building new roads in north Sikkim that was also affected by the deluge.
The decision to conduct the joint survey was taken at a meeting held at the PWD bungalow in Peshok on Saturday. GTA chief executive Anit Thapa will hold a meeting of the hill body on November 1 to discuss the rehabilitation of flood victims.
“A joint coordination committee has been formed (with the NHPC) to monitor the assessment. Anit Thapa and an official of the NHPC will head the committee. The local MLA, GTA Sabha executive members in Kalimpong district, and administrative officials in the district have been included in the committee,” said a source.
Areas like Teesta Bazar, Rangpo, Melli and Gailkhola in Kalimpong district were affected by the flash flood triggered by the outburst of the South Lhonak lake in Mangan district of Sikkim.
Sources in the district administration said around 553 houses had been damaged by the disaster. Of the 553 houses, 155 in Rangpo and Teesta Bazar were completely destroyed and 855 people became homeless.
The administration and the GTA started scouting for plots that could be used for the rehabilitation of the homeless.
“Representatives of the new committee will find out the exact number of victims and prepare an appropriate list so that they can be given compensation and rehabilitated,” the source said.
Thapa, who has been extensively visiting the flood-affected areas, said he held a meeting with NGOs of Kalimpong on Sunday so that collective efforts could be taken to help the victims.
“We have received certain proposals from them for rebuilding the affected areas. We will work on those proposals,” he said.
Soon after the flash flood, the Indian army and the BRO plunged into action and restored roads in Sikkim and a couple of days ago, opened two Bailey bridges in Sangklang to connect Dzongu and Chungthang.
“As traffic in a single file has begun along the Bailey bridges, the BRO has not started the work to connect Naga and Toong (both in north Sikkim). A major portion of the road connecting Naga village to Toong was washed away in the flood. The BRO has managed to connect Ritchu, a village en route, with the rest of the state after a gap of around 20 days,” said a source.
The BRO also completed a survey in coordination with the Sikkim administration and local people for building a road along a new alignment to avoid sinking zones and portions that were washed away at Naga and Toong.
“Heavy machinery has been engaged to develop the new alignment and once it is ready, Chungthang will be connected,” the source said.
For the BRO and the army, another major challenge is to restore the Chungthang-Lachen route. “The connectivity between Chungthang and Lachung is okay. But a lot of work has to be undertaken to restore the connectivity to Lachen,” said a source.