Friday, August 22, 2014

Seleley slips, cuts off Ralong and surrounding villages

NAMCHI, 21 Aug: The persistent downpour across Sikkim over the past week has littered the hills and roads with several slips and slides. While most are minor in scale and get routinely cleared out, a traditional troublespot about three kilometers out of Rabongla towards Ralong has acted up, and now become a full-blown headache. This slide-zone of Seleley was reactivated about a week ago and even as repair and restoration works were underway, the fresh wave of rains has carved away entire chunks or the road formation, not only cutting off Ralong and its surrounding villages, but also disrupting the water supply lines to distant Namchi which pass through this alignment.
The people of Ralong, Borong and Phamtam and the adjoining areas are now totally cut off from vehicular access and even transshipment is strenuous and fraught with dangers.
A petrol pump on the Rabongla-Ralong road has also sustained damage due to a mudslide. As this slide occurred at night there was no one inside the office building of the pump which is now almost buried in this slide.
When contacted, Assistant Engineer, Roads & Bridges, Rabongla, Sangay Nepo Bhutia, informed that Seleley is a notorious slide prone area and that the entire stretch is a sinking zone. Due to the continuous rainfall that the area has been receiving, on the night of 13 August, a major slide occurred at Seleley which washed away a chunk of the of Rabongla-Ralong road.
The Roads & Bridges Department is working on restoration, but the continuing rainfall is making progress difficult.
The engineers posted at the slide zone are also working towards shoring up the transshipment routes even as they tackle the main road formation and the laborers engaged in the restoration work are also helping women and children cross the slide zone.
Meanwhile, since the entire formation has been washed out here, it could take a month or even longer to restore the road for vehicles.
Elsewhere, the road leading to Gyalshing via Rabongla-Legship is also damaged at Kilometer 12 and 13. The stretch linking Ralong with Phamtam is also damaged at Kilometer 27.
Similarly, a report from the District Administrative Centre here informs that Rabong to Yangyang abd Yangyang to Lingmoo roads are also blocked at Dojok and Mangzin. The road leading to Bermiok from Namchi via Phongla is blocked at Bethghari while Yangyang to Sinchuthang is blocked at Sripatam.
Besides, these major mud slides, number of minor slides are hampering the daily flow of traffic along some of the busy roads of the district like Namchi-Melli, Jorethang-Melli, Namchi-Namthang stretches.
As learnt from DAC Namchi, three LT electric poles were damaged by falling trees at Lower Chuba (Langang). Power supply for the 10 households of the area has been affected due to this. Temporary restoration work is under process there.

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