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"If previous government had constructed properly..." Sikkim Chief Minister on hydel dam destroyed in flash floods

North Sikkim: Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang on Saturday said that maximum damage in the flash floods in Teesta River took place after the 1200 MW dam in Chungthang in the State's Mangan district broke alleging substandard construction work by the previous government in the State.
"The maximum damage took place after the Chungthang Dam broke. If the previous government had constructed the dam properly and if standard work had been done, the force of the water could have been controlled," Chief Minister Tamang told ANI.
The chief minister visited flood affected areas and relief camps at Naga Village in Mangan to assess the situation and interacted with people there this morning.
Chief Minister Tamang said that a committee will be formed and an investigation will be undertaken. "We will take help from the Central agency and make sure that the culprits are punished," he said.
The Lhonak glacier in the Sikkim Himalayas burst and started to overflow breaching one side of the lake on October 3 leading to the rise in the water levels in Teesta and inundate several areas of the state.
The 1200 MW dam Teesta Stage III hydel power project in Chungthang village was commissioned in the year 2017.
The Chief Minister said that he will also visit the areas severely affected by the calamity in Mangan and will also engage in discussions with the families affected in Naga, Rel, and Toong wards.
The Sikkim Chief Minister said that schools in Rangpo and Singhtham districts have been closed till october 15as these district are on risk zone. "We have not closed the schools of West Sikkim."
CM Tamang said that President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minster Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had called and enquired about the situation in the state.
"The Government of India is providing all possible help. Logistic support, Army, and financial aid for immediate relief are being provided by the government. The Centre is monitoring the situation closely. President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Modi, and Union Home Minister Amit Shah called me to take stock of the situation," Tamang said.
The chief minister said that priority now remains to rescue those stranded and restore electricity and water supply.
"According to yesterday's data, 19 bodies have been recovered, 103 are missing. Out of the 22 missing Army officials, 7 bodies have been found. Some more bodies were recovered late at night, we are counting the numbers. The total number of affected families is over 22,000 and we have rescued over 3900 people and have kept them at rescue camps. There are around 26 relief camps currently running in Sikkim," the chief minister said.
As per the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) report released this morning of October 6 at midnight, the death toll was registered at 26. with 142 people still reported missing.It said 2413 people have been rescued, and 1203 houses have been damaged in the flash flood.
"A committee has also been formed to look into the scale of damage. After the committee assessment report, we will able to tell the actual loss" the Sikkim chief minister said.
A total of 1173 houses were severely damaged. 2413 people were rescued and 26 persons were injured. Due to flash floods in the Teesta River basin, 13 bridges were washed away. A total of 6875 people are living in 22 relief camps. 25,065 people have been affected by the flood read the statement from Sikkim Disaster Management Authority.
On Friday evening Chief Minister Tamang chaired a high-level meeting at his official residence in Mintokgang. The meeting was attended by Director General of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Lt. Gen. Raghu Srinivasan, Chief Secretary of the Government of Sikkim, VB Pathak, DGP Sikkim, AK Singh, Deputy GOC of the 17 Mountain Division, DIG of ITBP, Chief Engineer of BRO, Swastik, Deputy Commandant ITBP, and senior officers of the State government and the Army.
In a statement the CM said the State Government, in collaboration with Sikkim Urja Limited, has formulated a special financial relief package for the disaster-stricken areas of the state.
"We have allocated a relief package of Rs 25 crore for Mangan District and Rs 15 crore each for the districts of Gangtok, Pakyong and Namchi. This allocation is in addition to the relief aid provided by both the state and the central government," he said.
The chief minister had announced yesterday an ex gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh for families of deceased whose mortal remains have been located and identified. Additionally, a temporary relief of Rs 2000 each will be provided to all individuals currently taking shelter in the relief camps in the area, he said.
All necessary aid and facilities, including medical and logistical support up to Siliguri in West Bengal, are being provided free of charge to individuals working in Sikkim, chief minister Tamang said.
The Sikkim Government, he said will offer subsidies to those who transport essential commodities, vegetables, and other food items to our state. This measure aims to ensure that the additional expenses incurred due to longer travel routes do not inflate the selling prices for local residents.
The Sikkim Chief Minister has warned against stockpiling and overcharging of goods. "Those found in violation of these regulations will face the permanent revocation of their licenses," the chief minister said.
Tamang said that his government is committed to exploring all possible avenues to restore road and network connectivity in the severely affected regions of Mangan District, which are currently completely cut off from the rest of the state.
He said that priority was given to open the road connectivity up to Chungthang, while the road from Naga to Toong will be constructed subject to the availability of land as soon as possible.
He stated that in the face of the calamity that has ravaged several parts of the State while disrupting normal life, numerous officers, personnel from the National Disaster Management Authority and the Sikkim State Disaster Management Authority (SSDMA) and dedicated volunteers are tirelessly engaged in rescue and relief operations.
According to Sikkim Chief secretary, as many as 3,000 people including tourists, drivers and motorcyclists have been stranded in Lachen and Lachung areas.
Due to the glacial lake outburst flood and flash floods, there was a sudden surge in flows in the Teesta River, which washed away several bridges, parts of NH-10, the Chungthang Dam and has impacted several small towns and several infrastructure projects in the upper reaches of the river valley in Sikkim.
The Sikkim government has set up 18 relief camps in Singtam, Rangpo, Dikchu and Adarsh Gaon which have faced most of the damages. However, due to a lack of connectivity with Chungthang, the relief camps there are being set up by the Indian Army and other paramilitaries.

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