East Himalaya

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An address damaged and a region after shock

When anyone called me up to reach my residence at Siliguri, I would say 'Reach Hatimore, Subhaspally, turn left, from Ashim Sweets or now Monginis turn right and then straight, keep coming till you reach a Shiva Temple near Vibgyor Sporting Club, take a U-turn left from the Children Park...the earthquake today has brought down the roof of this Shiva Temple and a wall close to my house. This is the visual all of you must have been watching in almost all television news channels.
The temple has been there since time unknown, a prominent conical roof, which used to be coloured during every Shivratri, was supposed to have been after the 2nd World War, when the American troops of the allied forces had left some cement at the present FCI Godown just opposite to the Shiva Temple. Things must have turned worst for Sikkim. None of the phones that I have been trying since long seems not reachable. Earthquake is not new to this area, but I don't remember a time when it has happened so strong, that it shook people out of their confidence.
Today morning, I could get through with several of my friends and relations in Sikkim and Darjeeling Hills. Mangan gave the message of the damage at Chungthang, Hee told about damage in Jorethang. Situation does not seem to be at its best, as electricity and telephone connections were not working in several areas, but since morning some places it resumed and the people could be contacted. The Government at the centre and the states are at their toes, about 500 reserve forces have arrived last night at Bagdogra. The major concern is the panic among the people and the fright of repetition.
Knowledgeable people have said that we have been saved because of the type of sedimentary rocks that we have, but have shown their concern about the several dams on the different rivers. As general public all of us believe that we have been saved because it was Biswakarma (God of all construction and engineering) Puja yesterday. Most of the time we tend to forget that we are in the Eastern Himalayan Syntaxis, an area for major earthquakes, which repeats almost after a little more than every 50 years. The last major in the region was the one in Lohit & Dibang areas. We need to be extra careful about what we build.   
02 major concerns about East Himalaya, when the bamboo flowers, and when the earth shakes...the 1950 shake of Assam is still fresh.


  1. I know several friends are on ground and in direct contact with several remote places,please post updates.

  2. Stay safe Raj. This was a bad one and its full impact will come out slowly.

  3. The Chief Ministers of the 02 states, Sikkim and West Bengal are actively on ground. Several Relief volunteers from Delhi arrived Bagdogra last night and were sent to the several affected sites. The NH31A, known as the lifeline of Sikkim opened for a short while today. The members of Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators' Association (EHTTOA) in a meeting today evening has planned to put update of the road conditions to the different destinations of Sikkim and North Bengal on their official website www.easternhimalaya.org. The members of Travel Agents Association of Bengal (TAAB) have decided to forward meaningful assistance to the affected people of North Bengal and Sikkim. No other industry, other than the travel industry has showed more concern about helping in this situation and also the state administrations along with the centre have showed such prompt action to bring the region to normal in such a short while is also not known in recent years. All concerned are requested to forward any kind of help during visiting this region this season. It is only more visitors, which will mean more support to this region during this crisis.

  4. 2nd day update for expected visitors:
    I have personally visited Lava, Rishyap and Kolakham from Siliguri and returned through Kalimpong, all roads are open. The Drivers and Taxi Owners association of Lava are working actively to keep all roads open.
    I have spoken to Mr.Palzor Lachungpa of Blue Sky and a resident of Lachung, one of the oldest tour operators from Sikkim, he has helped rescue the tourists from Lachung and Lachen and have brought them by helicopter to Mangan and are further helping them to reach Gangtok by road. He said that there has not been any major damages at Lachung and Lachen, but the road to reach them from Mangan will take quite some days to open.
    Mr.Birendra Tamling has reached Hee from Jorethang via Soreng and Kaluk.
    Mr.Yogesh has reported that the road from Siliguri to Namchi and Gangtok to Namchi is also open.
    Ravangla is also open from Gangtok.
    Between Melli to Jorethang till the Namchi road diversion it is open, but immediately after that at 16th mile the road is closed and is expected to open on 22nd or 23rd.
    There has been a few hundred calls from Kolkata regarding cancellations and 02 from Mumbai, my personal suggestion is that the travel industry calls a press meet at Kolkata on 24th Sep 2011 and updates on the regular movement of approach roads to tourist destinations

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