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Sikkim quake: Death toll climbs to 100, PM takes stock of situation

Agencies | Last Modified - Sep 21, 2011, 11:52 AM IST

PM assured CM Chamling that Centre would do everything needed to deal with situation.
  • Sikkim quake: Death toll climbs to 100, PM takes stock of situation
    Sikkim quake: Death toll climbs to 100, PM takes stock of situation

    Gangtok/ New Delhi: The death toll in powerful earthquake further shot up to 100, including 61 deaths in Sikkim alone as workers continued to feverishly search the affected areas, a Relief Control Room official said in Gangtok.

    sikkim_quake1_288Heavy rains and landslides were hampering rescue work and locals were in a state of shock, he said.

    More than 3,000 people were rescued in quake-hit areas of Sikkim by defence forces which scrambled hard to clear debris of collapsed structures and landslides.

    The National Highway 31-A from Mangan to Gangtok was closed due to blockades caused by heavy landslides but an alternative road was reopened to help rescue teams reach the worst-affected areas.

    Besides 61 in Sikkim, the toll in Sunday's strong earthquake has gone up to 12 in West Bengal, nine in Bihar and 11 in Nepal. There was no change in Monday's figure of seven deaths in Tibet.

    The 6.8-mangitude quake on Sunday had rattled large parts of India. It also jolted Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh.

    About 2,000 people had taken shelter in makeshift relief camps set up by the government in various parts of the state.

    Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited Sikkim on Wednesday to take stock of the rescue and relief efforts.

    Students move out of state

    Educational institutions remain closed indefinitely. Students from outside Sikkim are moving out of the state for fear of fresh tremors.

    People in the worst affected north Sikkim are distraught over the extensive damage to their homes and many passed the nights on pavements.

    "We are scared to go inside our house at night and hence are staying in the open...," said Maya Devi, 65, resident of Mangan, the epicentre of the earthquake in north Sikkim.

    Road communication between Sikkim and the rest of India has been restored with army soldiers clearing massive landslides on National Highway 31A, the lifeline linking capital Gangtok to Siliguri in West Bengal.

    PM takes stock of situation

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs to take stock of the situation arising out of Sunday's earthquake in Sikkim.

    Singh, who leaves for New York on a six-day visit on Wednesday to attend the UNGA Summit, discussed with his cabinet colleagues the situation in the northeastern state.

    The meeting is understood to have deliberated on the ways to help the quake-affected people and about relief and rehabilitation measures.

    Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister A K Antony and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi are among those who attended the meeting.

    Prior to the meeting, Singh spoke to Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and assured him that the Centre would do everything needed to deal with the situation.

    Singh has announced ex-gratia relief of Rs two lakh for the kin of those killed in the quake and Rs one lakh for those injured.

    (With PTI, IANS Inputs)

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