Singtam residents demand protective wall to tackle Teesta fury

Wed, Jun 19, 2019


GANGTOK,: Demands for protective walls along the Teesta river in Singtam and other river bank areas has intensified as residents of the town remained awake throughout Monday night following a high alert in view of the river flowing in full spate since Monday afternoon.
Torrential rainfall in north district and a reported cloud burst above Chungthang had increased the water level in the river prompting local authorities to remain caution against any eventualities. Topping to the situation was the release of water from two dams upstream – Teesta Stage 3 at Chungthang and Teesta Stage 5 at Dikchu which further increased the water level in the already gushing river.
Recalling Monday night’s ordeal, residents of Singtam said they were on high alert throughout and many were outdoors fearing flood like situation in the town. They also reiterated the demand for construction of high rise protective walls to avert damage on both banks of the river where several houses have been constructed.
Singtam Nagar Panchayat president Sawan Kumar Pradhan said the increase in water level caused panic among the residents on Monday night. People especially residing in the river side houses were alerted by the east district administration after which they were evacuated to safer places.
“We were awake almost the whole night until the water receded. There are few minor damages reported to property which will be taken care on priority. The meat vendor site under the bridge has been submerged by the sand wherein the Nagat Panchayat has sanctioned immediate funds to clear the debris so that the site is operational as soon as possible,” said Pradhan.
Another resident said the height of protective wall along the river has to be increased as the river water may damage houses and endanger lives. “Last night, we vacated our houses and shifted our family and some valuable items and took shelter in relives’ houses. The night was scary,” he said.
Singtam police station in-charge Sanjay Rai said the police was alerted on the situation in advance following which the police swung into action. “We started alerting the people by miking and cautioned them against venturing near the river. We in coordination with other agencies evacuated the people residing at the river bank side and were on the job until the water level receded. We will carry out our activities based on the information received from the higher authority considering safety of life and property of the local residents,” Rai said.
Asked on the situation, East District Collector Kapil Meena, who visited Singtam today, said the district administration had taken precautionary measures in riverside towns like Singtam and Rangpo on Monday itself after the dam water release was intimated.
“We started alerting the residents and informed the agencies in all the areas after which they started their activities and evacuated the residents. The volume of the river started to increase and all our agencies along with SDRF, NDRF teams were stationed in the area. Minor damages were reported which will be assessed and taken care on priority as soon as possible,” said Meena. He said though the water level as of today has receded but the alert would continue for another two days considering the weather report.


Area: 7096 Sq Km
Altitude: 5,840 ft
Population: 6.10 Lakhs
Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 ft. to over 28,509 ft above sea level
Summer: Max- 21°C ; Min – 13°C
Winter: Max -13°C ; Min – 0.48°C
Rainfall: 325 cm per annum
Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi