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Cabinet Secy Rajiv Gauba chairs a virtual meeting of National Crisis Management Committee to review situation in Sikkim

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The National Crisis Management Committee today met under the Chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and reviewed the situation in Sikkim. The Chief Secretary of Sikkim joined the meeting through video conferencing and apprised the Committee about the latest situation in the State.

He also briefed the committee about the efforts of the State government in carrying out relief and rescue measures. Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla informed the Committee that the situation is being monitored 24×7 by the Central Government at the highest level. Both control rooms of the Ministry of Home Affairs are monitoring the situation and all possible help is being extended.

Reviewing relief and rescue measures of the Central Agencies and Government of Sikkim, Cabinet Secretary Gauba emphasised that the evacuation of people stranded in the tunnel of Chungthang dam and tourists may be taken up on a priority basis. He further observed that additional teams of National Disaster Response Force, NDRF should be deployed and connectivity of road, telecom, and power must be restored in the shortest possible time. He assured the Government of Sikkim that all Central agencies are ready and will be available for assistance.

NDRF has already deployed three teams and additional teams are on standby in Guwahati and Patna. An adequate number of teams and assets of the Army and Air Force are being deployed to assist the state in rescue and restoration efforts.

The Cabinet Secretary was joined by the DG of Military Operations, the Secretary, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the Secretary of Power, the Secretary of Telecommunications, the Secretary of Water Resources, the Secretary of Earth Sciences, the Secretary NDMA, DG BRO, DG NDRF, and concerned officers from the Government of India.

From the State administration, the meeting had the presence of DGP, ACS Home, Special DGP, Secretary cum Relief Commissioner Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department, and Secretaries of concerned departments. Detailed discussions were held, wherein the Chief Secretary briefed about the prevailing situation in the State; and issues that required immediate attention and intervention of the Central Government.

After a patient hearing, the Cabinet Secretary assured to provide the required support and assistance to the State. As an immediate aid, three additional platoons of NDRF will be provided that will be stationed at Chungthang, Rangpo, and Singtam. The NDRF team for Chungthang will be air lifted when the weather permits. Further, 12 -14 people stranded in a tunnel at Chungthang will be evacuated (airlifted) on priority, after which the stranded tourists will also be evacuated. Likewise, essential commodities and supplies will also be airlifted and distributed to the people at Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung.

Since Chungthang, Lachen, and Lachung are totally inaccessible and cut off from the rest of the State, restoration of telecommunication will be carried out at war footing. In the meantime, the Central Government would be providing Satellite phones to facilitate communication, as an immediate relief.

Restoration of NH10 will be the most important consideration for which instructions have been issued from the Central Government to the West Bengal Government, BRO, and NHIDCL. Chief Minister Shri Prem Singh Tamang has been in constant touch with the Central leadership. He spoke to the Prime Minister over the phone and apprised him of the situation in the State.

The Prime Minister assured all necessary assistance to Sikkim to address the challenges posed by the disaster. During the day, the Chief Minister corresponded with the Prime Minister through a DO letter and sought necessary support, especially in areas that needed immediate intervention.

The State administration is taking all necessary steps to bring the situation under control and to restore normalcy.

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