Thursday, June 14, 2007

Traffic disrupted for many hours

Traffic disrupted for many hours

GANGTOK, June 13: The entire lower belt of the Capital was shaken today when a huge portion of the hill caved in at Amdo Golai this afternoon.

The landslide occurred when a huge boulder broke loose following heavy rains in the pass few days in the Capital. The falling boulders and soil covered the entire portion of the Amdo Golai-Indira By-pass-National Highway 31A tri-junction, completely blocking the by-pass road. Peak hour traffic on this stretch was disrupted for many hours following the incident.

Police personnel Chabilal Chettri, who was manning the traffic at the tri-junction when the incident occurred, sustained minor injuries when a falling rock hit him in his leg. He was immediately rushed to the STNM hospital.

Following the incident, Police personnel and members of Civil Defence immediately evacuated the entire area. “I was on my duty when I heard a loud sound when I looked up I saw the entire hill coming down. I ran as fast as I could,” Mohamed Islam, NBCC employee, said.

The houses on the hill side just above the slide are now dangerously placed, as more portions continue to slowly cave in. A building belonging to Pratap Tewari, which is constructed right above the slide, is now precariously perched. Earlier on June 2, a section of the hill had slipped following which the houses located around the vulnerable spot were evacuated.

Police and Civil Defence personnel have been put on high alert and vigils have been set up near the landslide spot.