Upper Dzongu Again Cut-off

Upper Dzongu Again Cut-off
Wed, Jun 19, 2019

Mantam footbridge, road washed away


GANGTOK,: Yet again, around 4,000 villagers living in Upper Dzongu beyond Mantam Lake are cut-off from rest of State with Rungyong river pulverizing the only suspension footbridge and jeepable road leading to Tingvong GPU, Sakyong-Pentok GPU and Lingdem village.
The footbridge over Mantam Lake collapsed on the early hours of Tuesday. Driven by cloud burst upstream, the raging river also washed away the jeepable road leading to Mantam from Passingdong side.
When the turbulence had settled down, the 13-odd villages in Upper Dzongu were rendered isolated from all directions.
The road to these villages in Upper Dzongu from Mangan is through Mantam Lake which now does not have a footbridge and cannot be reached on vehicles as the road to the lake has been reverted to multiple rivulets. The GPUs are also cut-off from Shipgyer side near Chungthang due to landslides at Raman village last week. Also, Sakyong and Pentok are isolated as the footbridge there collapsed this morning cutting off the longer trek from Lingthem side.
Tingvong and Sakong-Pentok GPUs, unfortunately, does not have a permanent road connectivity since August 13, 2016. That day, a hill side avalanche choked the Rungyong river causing the Mantam Lake to emerge which submerged the existing light bridge and washed away the road.
Since then, temporary measures like rafting (when the lake is stable), rope climbing on the hill side (when the lake takes a diversion), half trek-half boating, and small bridge (when the lake is largely dry) were adopted to cross the Mantam lake-river. Since last year, a footbridge was installed over the lake so that people can do transhipment on either side of the lake.
That footbridge is no longer there since Tuesday morning and the affected villagers are back to the August 13, 2016 status despite suffering in silence for almost three years.
Local lad and national footballer Nim Tshering Lepcha said Upper Dzongu has been suffering hardships due to poor road connectivity for more than two and half decades.
“It has been 25 years of poor road conditions in Upper Dzongu. It has been three years that only a temporary footbridge has come up since the Mantam slide. We have been suffering for so many years lacking proper connectivity. We request the new government to take permanent measures to provide relief to the people of Upper Dzongu,” said Nim Tshering.
Area MLA Pintso Namgyal Lepcha fears more hardships for Upper Dzongu if the State government does not take immediate alternative measures to restore connectivity as monsoon has just started. He said there should be immediate intervention from the authorities for the people of Upper Dzongu considering that monsoon is just starting.
The area MLA informed that he has spoken with the higher authorities including Land Revenue & Disaster Management secretary and additional chief secretary regarding the situation in Upper Dzongu. “As an elected representative of the people, I have submitted to the officials for immediate alternatives for the people of Upper Dzongu so that they do not face hardships. I have received positive assurances from the higher authorities,” he said to SIKKIM EXPRESS.
Lepcha said he has appealed to the people to stay away from the river as a precautionary measure. He also urged that the permanent bridge over Mantam lake, as sanctioned by the previous government two years ago, is expedited.


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