Mangan-Chungthang road, lifeline of the town, can't be opened in the next three or four weeks

Chungthang, one of the worst quake-affected areas in North district of Sikkim, remained cut off for the fourth day on Wednesday.

Authorities have ruled out the possibility of opening the 28-km Mangan-Chungthang road in the next three or four weeks. Till the Border Roads Organisation restores the only road to Chungthang, helicopters will be the only means of transport to take aid to the affected residents.

Chungthang, a sub-divisional headquarters town, now has stocks of essential items that will last for another five-six days. The State government has decided to airlift 300 quintals of rice and other essential items from Gangtok, MLA of the Chungthang-Mangan T.W. Lepcha told The Hindu after making an aerial assessment of the situation in Chungthang.

Chungthang has a population of about 3,000 people, including 1,000 migrant workers.

Mr. Lepcha said the road was severely damaged; at some locations between Toong and Chungthang, the long stretches of the road vanished under the pile of rubble brought down by landslips. “It will take at least one month to restore the road communication.” So far 22 bodies were recovered and several injured airlifted for treatment.

Most of the victims were migrant workers engaged in the construction of the 1,200-MW power project on the Teesta, he said.

Chief Secretary Karma Gaytso and Director-General of Police Jasbir Singh made an aerial survey of Chungthang and held meetings with officials of the local administration to assess the effectiveness of the relief and rescue missions, ahead of Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling's visit on Thursday.