Ward-wise teams set up for door-to-door assessment of quake damage

Sikkim is limping back to normality barring the worst-hit and inaccessible quake-hit areas. However, for many affected people like Amrita Tewari, who works as a home guard to feed her two children and her unemployed husband, the worry is to find a safe shelter as their houses have been rendered unsafe by the September 18 quake.

In a day or two, Ms. Tewari is likely to get notice from the local panchayat asking her to vacate the damaged house. Construction of a new house is a worry that haunts the woman, who was on route lining duty on Friday in view of Chief Minister P.K. Chamling's visit to Mangan, headquarters of North District.

“Even after cracks showed up in our building, we decided to continue living in the house as we did not want to go to a relief camp. But, I know, once the official notice is served, authorities will not be responsible if my building collapses. I am in a dilemma,” Ms. Tewari told The Hindu as she took a break to have tea in roadside restaurant after the Chief Minister's convoy had crossed the area.

The local MLA of Tumen-Limgi, Ugen T Gyatso Bhutia, assured panchayat members and residents that the State government would provide all help for rehabilitation. About 400 people of his constituency, whose houses were damaged in the September 18 quake, have taken shelter in eight relief camps. The legislator said the government decided to provide dwellings under the Chief Minister's Rural Housing scheme to all those whose houses had been rendered unsafe. Ward-wise teams were formed in each panchayat for a door-to-door assessment of the quake damage and to ascertain the number of houses rendered unsafe. The people had been advised to immediately vacate unsafe houses, he said.