Football legend and politician Bhaichung Bhutia expressed strong criticism of Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay’s handling of the Lhonak Lake Glacial Lake Outburst, accusing him of negligence and political opportunism.
Press Conference in Gangtok
Gangtok: Bhaichung Bhutia, renowned Sikkimese footballer and politician representing the Hamro Sikkim Party merged with the Sikkim Democratic Front, conveyed his concerns during a press conference in Gangtok on Monday. He proposed a thorough investigation into the role of Sunil Sarogi concerning the dam burst incident.
Delay in Providing Information
The heart of Bhutia’s critique centered around the delay in disseminating vital information concerning the Lhonak Lake Glacial Lake Outburst on October 3. He contended that the disaster’s magnitude was exacerbated by Chief Minister Golay’s actions.
Blame Without Investigation
Bhaichung Bhutia accused Chief Minister Golay of assigning blame without proper investigation. Despite acknowledging the need for a CBI investigation, Bhutia questioned the purpose of such an inquiry when the Chief Minister claimed to have already received the report.
Timing of Information
He questioned the Chief Minister’s response timing, highlighting that the first report of flooding came from ITBP Jawans approximately 8 kilometers away, at 10:30 pm on October 3. The information was subsequently relayed to authorities, including the Chief Minister’s office. Despite acknowledging receipt at 10:40 pm, the Chief Minister did not take immediate action. Bhutia cited the Chief Minister’s participation in a public meeting and dinner party until 11:30 pm as an example of his negligence.
Inaction Amidst Calamity
Bhaichung Bhutia emphasized that during a natural disaster, the immediate response should prioritize public safety and information dissemination. He criticized the Chief Minister for failing to act swiftly, leading to a significant loss of lives.
The football icon criticized Golay for asserting that the dam in Chungthang was substandard, asking for the basis of such claims and accusing the Chief Minister of exploiting the tragedy for political gains.
Bhaichung Bhutia pointed out inconsistencies in Chief Minister Golay’s statements and lamented the government’s lack of response to warnings from various sources regarding the impending danger at Lhonak Lake.
Government Funding Unused
He also highlighted that despite the Indian government’s allocation of Rs. 20.24 crore to prevent such a disaster, the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha government led by Golay failed to take preventive measures.
Gangtokian Web Team, 31/10/23