Chungthang Flood Relief
Chungthang: Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay extended a helping hand to 52 residents of Chungthang, offering them Rs 1 lakh each as “initial relief” after the devastating Glacial Lake Outburst Flood on October 3. Golay’s visit to Chungthang came 19 days after the calamity, given the extensive road damage in the Teesta Basin.
A Respite for Non-Permanent Residents
In a bid to ease the burden on non-permanent residents of Chungthang, the chief minister declared a 10-month rent relaxation. As a result, 161 families in this category received Rs 20,000 each.
Concerns Over Dam Construction
Many residents of Chungthang pointed fingers at the Teesta Urja Stage 3 dam, holding it responsible for the destruction of their town. CM Golay acknowledged the concerns and emphasized the significance of power supply, especially from the 1200 MW former dam, the largest in the state.
He mentioned the prior government’s decision to construct a dam in Chungthang, a move that faced opposition from locals. The CM assured that his administration would respect the community’s choice regarding reconstruction.
“If the people of Chungthang oppose the reconstruction, we will abide by their decision,” Golay affirmed.
Urgent Needs and Requests
The residents of Chungthang have made urgent requests for the reconstruction of fully and partially damaged houses. Many non-permanent residents are in need of housing solutions. Additionally, the government school in Chungthang suffered extensive damage.
Residents have also expressed the necessity for designated areas to dispose of garbage, slush, and debris away from the town. They cited concerns about handling debris in the presence of ammunition from the Indian Army scattered across Chungthang.
Deeki Lepcha, the Chungthang Panchayat President, submitted the community’s demands to the CM, highlighting the need for a new power department office, a protective wall along the Teesta basin, drainage facilities, footpaths connecting villages, suspension bridges, telecommunication, and the restoration of the national highway.
Road to Recovery
Lachen Mangan MLA Samdup Lepcha addressed the ongoing relief efforts and noted that restoring road connectivity to Lachen would require at least two months.
Gangtokian Web Team, 23/10/23