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16 feared dead in Sikkim landslides

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: Sixteen people, including women and children, were feared killed due to landslides at three different places in Sikkim on Thursday night after heavy rain.

Ten bodies have been recovered and work is on to retrieve those of six more feared to be buried under the debris, an official of the disaster management unit in West Sikkim district, Jigme Bhutia, told The Hindu over telephone on Friday.

Operations had to be abandoned in the evening because of failing light and incessant rain, he added.

“The Sikkim Government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.1 lakh to each of the bereaved families,” said C. B. Karki, the State Minister for Rural Development, from Gangtok.

Khorong, 15 km from Geyzing, the district headquarters, was the worst affected. While 14 persons have died there, the landslides have claimed a life in Lower Pelling and another at Tikjek. Major road links to the district have been blocked and power supplies severely affected.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling held a meeting with Ministers and Secretaries of the Departments concerned to discuss measures to rehabilitate those who have lost their homes in the landslides, Mr Karki said. Instructions were issued to take up repair work along the damaged roads immediately. Relief material was being rushed to the affected areas.

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