The Sikkim government is apprehensive that it will take at least a month to restore normality to the areas worst affected by Sunday's earthquake near the State's border with Nepal.
The death toll mounted to 50 on Tuesday even as several parts of the State remained inaccessible by road. Several of those injured are being evacuated in helicopters provided by the Army.
About 150 injured people have been admitted in hospitals. Some have been moved to hospitals in West Bengal and Delhi, Minister for Rural Management and Development C. B. Karki told The Hindu over telephone from Gangtok.
With about 1,300 homes destroyed and more than a lakh partially damaged in the tremors and their aftermath, about 10,000 people have been rendered homeless. They have been evacuated to shelters, he added.
The roads leading up to Mangan in North District, the worst affected by the quake, have been cleared to allow vehicles, but the areas beyond remain blocked. All State highways have been damaged. Road connectivity to all parts of South, East and West districts should be restored within a week, Mr. Karki said.
With pipelines disrupted, water supply has been seriously hit. Usha Lachumpa of Gangtok said that while a sense of normality had returned to the capital, there was a problem with water supply. “Barring Gangtok, power supply to the other parts of the State remains disrupted,” Mr. Karki said.
Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling has convened a series of meetings to assess the situation. He has visited the affected areas in East District and will be going to North District on September 22, South District on September 23 and West District on September 24 to supervise rescue and relief operations, said K. S. Tobgay, Secretary of the Information and Public Relations Department.
Mamata visits Sikkim
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee visited Sikkim during the day. On her way to Gangtok, she stopped by some of the homes along the highway and met the residents.
She was greeted by the people and scarves were exchanged to welcome her even amid the crisis. She also visited some of the victims in the hospitals.
“We are thankful that a Chief Minister of a neighbouring State has come during these hard times and spoken to our people,” Mr. Karki said.