Gangtok (Sikkim) [India], October 4 (ANI): Hours after devastation caused by a cloud burst gripped Sikkim, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed concern over the news of 23 missing soldiers and promised assistance from the West Bengal government.
The WB Chief Minister also urged North Bengal to maintain maximal vigil in the current season to prevent such natural disasters.
"Deeply concerned on getting the news of 23 soldiers missing after a flash flood in Sikkim which followed a cloudburst in the region. While expressing solidarity and promise of assistance from our government side if sought on this matter, I also urge all concerned in North Bengal to maintain maximal vigil in the current season to prevent disasters," Banerjee posted on X.
"Have already asked my Chief Secretary to coordinate disaster management preparedness measures asap. All steps have been taken to evacuate people in the districts of Kalimpong, Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri to safer places. Senior ministers of the state and senior IAS officers have been rushed to North Bengal to oversee rescue and relief operations. Close vigil is being kept to ensure no loss of life in this grave calamity," she added further.
Member of Parliament and former Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Sukhbir Singh Badal also expressed grief over the Sikkim cloud burst and raised hopes on the news of safety and welfare of the missing soldiers.
"Just received very disconcerting news from Sikkim that 23 soldiers as well as other people have been reported missing following a devastating flash flood. Awaiting news of their safety and welfare," posted Badal on X.
Earlier in the day, the Defence Public Relations Officer (PRO) Guwahati informed about the incident on X and posted, "23 army personnel have been reported missing due to a flash flood that occurred in Teesta River in Lachen Valley after a sudden cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in North Sikkim."In the wake of the devastation caused by cloud burst in Sikkim, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Dilli Ram Thapa on Wednesday urged the people of the state to stand together in difficult times and help each other to overcome the destruction.
"Several properties have been damaged. We cannot even estimate right now how much devastation has taken place. I request all institutions to support Sikkim," said Thapa adding, "I took stock of the situation in the morning and will do it again. Rescue operations are underway," he assured.
"Today a big situation has arisen in front of the people of Sikkim. I request everyone, all the people of Sikkim to stand together in these times and help each other out of this destruction," added the Sikkim BJP chief.
On Wednesday, South Lhonak Lake, situated in North West Sikkim witnessed a glacial lake outburst that triggered flash floods accompanied by incessant rainfall in the region. Officials on Wednesday sounded alert for areas near River Teesta.
Giving information about the outburst, the Gangtok District Administration said, "The flash flood made its way through River Teesta sweeping Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, some 30 kilometres from Gangtok. A connecting bridge of the Balutar hamlet was also swept away around 4 am."Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang also visited the flood-affected areas in the region and offered words of advice and comfort to the people of the state.
The flowing flash flood made its way through River Teesta sweeping Indreni Bridge in Singtam town, some 30 kilometres from Gangtok informed Gangtok District Administration. Another connecting bridge of Balutar hamlet was also swept away around 4 am.
As per information from Mangan District Administration, Chungthang town, some 90 kilometres north of Gangtok, houses the Teesta Stage 3 Dam. Upon high alert, the local residents have been evacuated from the area.
"Similarly, the Teesta Stage 5 dam at Dikchu in Mangan district was opened up for water disbursement after a high alert. It is reported that the control room of the dam has been severely damaged," they informed.
Many homes near the River Teesta, situated in Gangtok's Singtam have been evacuated. Additionally, temporary relief facilities have been established in the town's Singtam Senior Secondary School, added officials. (ANI)