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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tremor of 3.9 magnitude hits again....12 foreigners rescued, toll goes up to 117...Rescuers reach remote areas; quake toll now 104... Sikkim: Centre to give Rs 50 crore grant to earthquake-hit region...Sikkim quake relief effort criticised

KalimNews: A mild intensity earthquake of 3.9 magnitude hit Sikkim tonight (September 22), just four days after a powerful temblor hit the state, leaving behind a trail of deaths and devastations. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) sources, the quake measuring 3.9 magnitude in the Richter scale hit the state at 10.15 pm. The epicentre of the quake was in Sikkim. Panicked residents in the state capital came out of their homes during the tremor.
Director General of Police (DGP) Jasbir Singh said most of the people came out of their homes and are now on the roads and in other open areas, the DGP said. As most of the houses in the city have developed cracks after Sunday's 6.8 magnitude quake, people are reluctant to return to their houses after the mild tremor and wanted to spend the night on the roads and in other open areas, Singh said. At least 74 people have died in the Himalayan state in Sunday's powerful temblor.
Earthquake of 4.7 Richter scale hit Myanmar, Imphal and adjoing areas. Kalimpong also felt light tremor at 10.18 pm of Thursday, 22 September.
12 foreigners rescued, toll goes up to 117
PTI, Mangan (Sikkim), Sept 22  : Twelve stranded foreigners were rescued from the North district as relief teams battled hard to reach remote quake-hit areas with landslides blocking roads as the toll in Sunday's powerful temblor rose to 117, including 74 in the Himalayan state.
With one more body recovered from the North district, the toll in Sikkim has gone up to 74 while West Bengal has reported 15 deaths, nine in Bihar, 11 in Nepal, seven in Tibet and one in Bhutan.
Officials said 21 people including 12 foreigners stranded in the district were airlifted to Gangtok.
Four key roads -- Chungthang-Lachen, Chungthan -Lachung, Pedong-Kupup and Rangpo-Rorathang -- are still blocked due to landslide and Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Army Engineers are working on their restoration.
Four pregnant women were shifted by ITBP to Mangan Chungthang hospitals. Rescue teams also evacuated 18 more Indian tourists from Rangma Range and nine civilian workers of Teesta project from Pegong.
Power supply in Sikkim has been normal except in the some parts of North district.
Most of the employees and labourers of the Teesta Hydro Electro Project have been counted for and fears of recovery of more bodies in and around the construction site have been dispelled by the rescuers, a senior Home ministry official said.
Army personnel involved in the rescue operation at Saffu could not reach the Teesta project site by road owing to landslides and reached the area through the project tunnels.
Most of the people, including tourists, have been evacuated from Lachen, but there were fresh landslides in the area which, coupled with intermittent rains, made the going difficult for the Army, officials said.
Ten teams of NDRF comprising 403 personnel along with necessary equipment have been deployed for search and rescue operations.
Three teams of NDRF which were located at Gangtok have moved to Mangan and two teams located at Mangan have been deployed for search and rescue operations in villages Ramam, Lingzya and Dzongu.
Two teams of NDRF comprising 14 personnel and 16 personnel each have been deployed at Chungthan and Lachung respectively.
The doctors of the NDRF team deployed at Mangan with medical detachment have set up a medial relief camp at Manul Mangan.
Altogether 827 ITBP personnel are engaged in rescue operations and have also set up relief camps where villagers have been given shelter.
The state government has opened relief camps in each district. 2700 and 550 people have been provided shelter in army camps and ITBP camp (Pengong) respectively.
A total of 5,500 army personnel located in Sikkim have been pressed into relief and rescue operations. Out of this, 94 army columns (strength of columns varies from 15-40 personnel each) have been deployed for rescue operation. Rescue columns comprising 281 personnel deployed at Mangan have set up Integrated Command Centre.
94 villages have been physically covered by the team of army jawans in their search and rescue operations.
The 12 foreigners, including two Norwegian tourists, were airlifted from quake-hit Chungthang to Safo in North Sikkim and later to the state capital today.
"Safo is a relatively safer place in the higher reaches where many of the rescued persons have been sheltered," they said.
Ten technicians and engineers, mainly from South Africa and Brazil were working at the Teesta project.
"We have yet no idea of the condition in villages like Sakyong-Pentong, Bey which were in forested areas beyond Dzongu," an official said.
The villages in Sikkim are scattered and there is only one major highway connecting Mangan to Dzongu.
Lingza and Bey villages at Upper Dzongu in the North District were reconnected to the outside world for a brief period yesterday after remaining cut off for five days, but fresh landslides blocked the road linking the villages to Mangan.
However, landslides were cleared upto Lingza Falls enabling Army and police personnel to resume their mission to reach food supplies to the marooned people.
From the Lingza Falls they headed onwards the villages on foot.
Local people said some villages like 12 Mile had been completely wiped out.
Teesta company today said its under-construction,1,200-MW hydroelectric project in North District was not amuch affected by the 6.8 magnitude quake.
"No section of the tunnels of project works, at Saffu or at any other location on the site, is flooded or has collapsed," the company said in a statement.
Army reaches cut-off nine - Sikkim feels another tremor, jawans enter Dzongu

BRO jawans remove boulders near Meyong on the Dikchu-Mangan highway on Thursday. (Prabin Khaling)
Bijoy Gurung, TT, Gangtok, Sept. 22: Army troopers trekked on foot or rappelled down ropes while helicopters dropped rations and food packets today in sorties over quake-ravaged North Sikkim as help finally reached villages cut off since Sunday’s deadly tremors triggered multiple landslides. The villages include nine in Dzongu where road links had snapped.
At night, around 10.20, Sikkim experienced a mild tremor. The low-intensity quake was enough to send the already terrified people of Gangtok out on the streets, armed with blankets and torch-lights. District collector (East) D. Anandan, who was present at the control room at MG Marg, said the tremor was probably an aftershock.
“All villages in Dzongu affected by the quake have been reached by the army either on foot or by air. In areas we could not reach on foot, our army people rappelled down ropes and reached medical assistance to injured villagers,” said Major General S.L. Narasimhan, General-Officer-Commanding, 17 Mountain Division.
The isolated villages in Dzongu were Shipgyer, Bey, Saffo, Salem, Payel, Sakyong, Pentong, Lingzya and Tholung where authorities said restoring roads would take time because of the extensive damage.
Fourteen army helicopters dropped nine tonnes of food and 2,000 food packets over areas, including those in Chungthang, still inaccessible because of multiple landslides along the North Sikkim highway from Toong, 10km away. Asked if any village in Dzongu, the protected area for Lepchas, Sikkim’s indigenous tribal community, had been left out, the officer said army personnel had reached all villages whose isolation reports had reached the force.
“We don’t have information of any other village that has been left out,” the officer added.
Narasimhan said around 200 people who had suffered injuries were treated by army personnel.
“We have rescued 161 people, including 21 tourists, from different parts of North Sikkim who were brought to (administrative headquarters) Mangan. Ten South African engineers working at the Teesta Urja hydel power project in Chungthang were also evacuated. They are on the way to Mangan by road,” the officer said.
Teesta Urja is implementing the 1,200MW project at Chungthang, the confluence of Lachen and Lachung rivers. Chungthang is some 100km from Gangtok.
The state government said not a single tourist was stranded in Sikkim. According to chief secretary Karma Gyatso, government doctors were reaching the isolated villages in Dzongu while relief workers from the army, the National Disaster Response Force and Sikkim Armed Police had fanned out in the region to help residents.
Army sources said the priority was to provide food and medical relief to Dzongu’s stranded residents.
Chamling will tour the affected areas from tomorrow, starting with worst-hit North Sikkim, where 57 deaths have been officially confirmed. Altogether 75 people have died in Sikkim, the government said in a release.
Gyatso said the chief minister had not been able to visit the affected areas yet because “he had to stay in Gangtok to brief” Union home minister P. Chidambaram and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi about the “damage and the kind of central assistance” required. “He will be touring to know the difficulty faced by the people,” Gyatso added.
Rs 70 crore to get back on feet
BIJOY GURUNG, TT, Gangtok, Sept. 22: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today said “no efforts” would be spared by the Centre to enable quake-hit Sikkim and its people to get back on their feet at the earliest.
A grant of Rs 20 crore had been released yesterday for relief and restoration work in the Himalayan state. Another Rs 50 crore would be released by the Centre tomorrow, the home minister said.
“To control the situation in Sikkim, Rs 20 crore was released yesterday as immediate relief. Tomorrow, Rs 50 crore will be released for relief and restoration work. The Sikkim government need not worry about financial assistance… and we are not waiting for the assessment of damage being conducted by the state government,” said Chidambaram after a meeting with Sikkim governor B.P. Singh, chief minister Pawan Chamling and senior government officials at Raj Bhavan.
The funds for immediate relief will be used to ensure road connectivity, water and power supply and distribution of relief and medicine.
“The Prime Minister has asked me to tell the Sikkim government and the people that the first thing he will do after completing his Washington trip is visit Sikkim. Meanwhile we have asked the state government to prepare a memorandum but without waiting for it, a central team will come to Sikkim to make an assessment. We will have the assessments ready and based on them, long-term and medium-term rehabilitation programmes will be drawn up,” said the home minister.
Chidambaram’s IAF chopper landed at the Libing helipad around 9am and he proceeded straight with Chamling to the government-run STNM Hospital in Gangtok. He spoke to the victims in the surgical, ENT and orthopaedic wards for 30 minutes.
The minister then visited Tashiling secretariat, which has been damaged by the quake, before proceeding to Raj Bhavan for a meeting with the governor, the chief minister and senior government officials.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the people of Sikkim… We stand shoulder to shoulder with them and the Government of India will help them in every way to stand on their feet and restore normalcy in the state. I have no doubt, knowing the hardworking, strong, resilient people of Sikkim… they will get back on their feet very quickly…,” said Chidambaram.
The minister said the state government, the army, the ITBP, the BRO and the NDRF were doing exemplary work.
Culture ministry aid
The Union culture ministry will give a helping hand to restore two houses in the Darjeeling hills where Rabindranath Tagore once stayed and the Rumtek monastery that have been affected by the tremor. The ministry will ask the state governments for detailed reports on the Tagore houses in Kalimpong and Mungpoo and the monastery.
Eye on hydel projects
VIVEK CHHETRI, TT, Gangtok, Sept. 22: Sikkim will have 31 hydel projects by 2015 and while they are expected to generate nearly Rs 1,500 crore annually after completion, experts said the government must always remain vigilant to possible risks the projects might pose.
Of the 31, two projects, the 60MW Rangit stage III and the 510MW Teesta stage V, have been commissioned. (See chart)
“Construction of 29 hydel projects are in various stages and all of them are expected to be completed by 2015,” said A.K. Giri, the secretary of the Sikkim power department. “If we make a very conservative estimate, the state will be earning around Rs 1,500 crore per annum on completion of these projects.”
Asked if the government was planning too many hydel projects in the fragile mountainous terrain, which falls under seismic zone IV, Giri replied in the negative. “Within six hours of the earthquake, the Teesta stage V project resumed operation. The very fact that none of the hydel projects were damaged is proof that proper constructions have taken place. The structures are constructed in such a manner that it can withstand earthquake of 8 on the Richter scale,” said Giri.
The Teesta stage V project was commissioned in July 2009 and was built for Rs 2,619 crore. It is one of the largest hydel power projects in the Northeast and generates an annual revenue of Rs 129 crore for the state.
The initial government decision to come up with 35 hydel projects in the state had, however, not been welcomed by all. In fact, the Affected Citizens of Teesta, Concerned Lepchas of Sikkim and the Sangha of Dzongu had spearheaded anti-dam protests to preserve the fragile ecology of the Lepcha reserve, Dzongu, in North Sikkim. The government then scrapped the 90MW Ringpi, 33MW Rukel, 120MW Lingza and the 141MW Rangyong projects in 2008.
Subir Sarkar, the head of the department of geography, North Bengal University, while supporting the need for hydel projects, sounded a note of caution. “The construction technology is superior these days. But while building such structures possible hazards will always have to be kept in mind,” said Sarkar. The earthquake, which caused devastation in North Sikkim measured 6.8 on the Richter, would — according to Sarkar — technically be classified as “moderate”.
“Since the area falls under seismic zone IV, there is always a possibility of more intense earthquakes, even though tremors which we term as ‘great’ have never been recorded in this region,” said Sarkar. He said the country has been divided into five seismic zones by the India Meteorological Department.
“We have records of the occurrences of earthquakes of the past 200 years, based on which areas have been divided into different seismic zones. With rise in the grade, susceptibility of the area concerned increases. Parts of north Bengal and Sikkim are in zone IV, which means, they are the second most vulnerable area.”

Earthquake Update as at 5 P.M. Today

Ø The Number of deaths as reported by the State Government of Sikkim is 71. This may increase further as rescue and release teams reach further into interior areas. The break-up of death toll is as follows- East District- 12, North District-54, West District -4 and South District-1. 58 persons are injured.
Ø Ten teams of NDRF consisting of 403 personnel along with necessary equipment have been deployed for search and rescue operations. Three teams of NDRF which were located at Gangtok have moved to Mangan and two teams already located at Mangan have been deployed for search and rescue operations in villages Ramam, Lingzya and Dzongu.
Ø Two teams of NDRF comprising 14 personnel and 16 personnel each have been deployed at Chungthan and Lachung respectively.
Ø The doctors of the NDRF team deployed at Mangan with medical detachment have set up a medial relief camp at Manul Mangan.
Ø 827 ITBP personnel are engaged in rescue operations and have also set up relief camps where rescued villagers have been given shelter.
Ø The State Govt. has opened relief camps in each district. 2700 and 550 people have been provided shelter into Army camps and ITBP camp (Pengong) respectively.
Ø A total of 5500 Army personnel located in Sikkim have been pressed into relief and rescue operations. Out of this, 94 Army columns (strength of columns varies from 15-40 personnel each) have been deployed for rescue operation. Rescue columns comprising 281 personnel deployed at Mangan have set up Integrated Command Centre.
Ø 94 villages have been physically covered by the team of Army jawans in their search and rescue operations.
Ø 21 Engineer columns have been deployed for restoration of communication on national highways in conjunction with BRO.
Ø A medical team comprising 19 doctors (Surgeon – 4, Orthopedician – 6, Anaesthesian – 5, Neuro Surgeon – 2, and medicine – 2) was deployed by the Ministry of Health, Government of India from Delhi on 19th September, 2011. A team of 10 doctors have reached Chungthan on 20th September 2011 and remaining 9 doctors have been deployed at STNM Hospital, Gangtok.
Ø 940 civilians have been treated at Military hospitals. 28 civilians evacuated by Army helicopters are currently under treatment at Military Hospitals.
Ø About 8000 food packets have been air-dropped in the northern part of North District.
Ø 15 helicopters of Army and Air Force have been pressed into relief work. For airdropping and reconnaissance, 100 sorties have been carried out so far.
Ø 2800 people have been provided shelter in 8 relief camps established at Darjeeling (01), Gangtok (04), Chungthan (02) and Pagong (01).
Ø In Chungthan ,about 2000 people have taken shelter at Gurudwara. Other temporary shelters are at Lingzya (20), Sakyong (30), Pentong (25), Ramam (30), Shipgyel (50), and Jongu/Saffo (30) in North District.
Ø One Joint Secretary from MHA has been deputed to Sikkim to coordinate the relief operations.
Ø The following roads have also been opened for traffic :
(i) National Highway 31-A from Siliguri to Gangtok
(ii) National Highway 55 - Darjeeling to Siliguri
(iii)Gangtok – Rangrang and Mangan
(iv) Mangan – Chugthan (upto 12 kms)
(v) Gangtok – Natu La. (56 km – 15 km open)
(vi) Damdim – Alagarh – Rishi – Pedong,
(vii)Kupup – Natu La
Ø The following roads are still blocked :
(i) Chungthang – Lachen (22 kns.)
(ii) Chungthan – Lachung (24 kms)
(iii)Pedong – Kupup (49 kms)
(iv) Rangpo – Rorathang.(10 kms.)
Ø Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Army Engineers are working for restoration of different roads.
Ø Power supply is normal except in the northern part of North district.
Ø Landline and microwave links are operational. The present status of the operational mobile towers/BTS vis-à-vis total number is as follows, Vodafone-147(167), Reliance-41(54), Idea-42(42), Aircell-45(55), Airtel-65(69), BSNL-102(122).
Ø 3000 nos. of blankets, 400 nos. of tents, 200 stoves, 500 tarpaulin and 0 water purifier have been dispatched to the affected areas.
Ø The Union Home Minister visited Sikkim today to review the arrangements of rescue and relief post-earthquake. On behalf of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister announced a grant of Rs.50 crore for the purpose.
Hundreds Still Stuck in Remote Villages in Sikkim
New Delhi/Gangtok, Sep 22 (IANS): Even as most of the media focus has been on Manang in north Sikkim that is said to be the worst affected in Sunday's earthquake, there are around 400 people still stuck in villages beyond where rescue workers are still struggling to reach, a relief coordinator said.
The earthquake of 6.8 magnitude killed at least 78 people and has left many more injured in Sikkim itself. It had also jolted Nepal, Tibet and Bangladesh.
Nearly four days after the quake, rescue operation is still on. However rain and landslides have been acting as hurdles in the process and several places in north Sikkim - the worst affected - are still cut off.
"There are at least three villages beyond Manang which are still cut off after the earthquake and at least 300-400 people are in those villages," B. B. Rai, of the Voluntary Health Association of Sikkim (VHAS), told IANS on phone from Gangtok.
"Rescue work has been difficult. Our rescue workers have been trying to reach these villages on foot and managed to reach Linzay, beyond Manang, last night at 9.30 p.m.," he added.
Tay Sakyong and Pentong are the other two villages which are still cut off.
Rai, who has been coordinating the work of different NGOs towards the rescue mission , said that although he was in touch with his team until Wednesday, he has no contact with them now since telecommunication has snapped in those areas.
"Our team members are carrying ready to eat food packets, first aid, torches and other things which are needed urgently for immediate relief. Local volunteers are also pitching in...those volunteering should be good climbers as well because they are going on foot," Rai said.
"I have come to know that the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has managed to reach Linzay and then returned to Manang because they couldn't go beyond. The communication is totally disrupted," he added.
Swapan Singha of Action Aid India who has been on the field in the rescue mission similarly talked about the challenges facing the survivors and rescue workers.
"The devastation and its impact is still being unearthed and it is clear that survivors have a long haul ahead. In the coming days there will be a huge challenge for even the basic needs of food and water," Singha said.
"Because of the landslide, the road from Mangan to Chongthang is blocked or flattened at around 30 locations. Electricity and communication is not yet restored. The district administration says that it would take another three-four days for that to be restored. As a result communication and relief operations are very slow," he added.
Rai further added that even nearly four days after the quake, people are still buried under the debris.
"I have come to know that in one of the villages, five people may still be buried under the debris...the only relieving thought that the survivors in these cut off villages are tribals and know how to survive on wild roots and will be able to sustain," he said.
"But if they need medical help, they will have to wait," he added.
NGOs from across the country have come forward to help, Rai further said, but a lot more needs to be done.
"We are having meetings with a number of NGOs...some of them want to know how many people are affected and we are telling them Sikkim is sparsely populated, nevertheless people are in desperate need," Rai said.
"We haven't got much query from outside the state for help, so I really hope people pitch in especially in terms of immediate relief like food packets, blankets and all," he added.

Sikkim: Centre to give Rs 50 crore grant to earthquake-hit region
22 SEP, 2011, ANI : GANGTOK: After assessing ongoing rescue and relief efforts in quake-hit Sikkim, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said the Centre would give Rs 50 crore immediately as grant for relief and rehabilitation work.
Talking to reporters here, Chidambaram said: "The Centre will immediately release Rs 50 crore as grant for the relief and rehabilitation work in Sikkim.
"We have reviewed immediate work set up. Government will support people in every possible ways. Every effort will be made so that they stand on their feet," he said
"Our prime motive is providing relief to 5000-6000 persons in camps. Nine villages, which could not be accessed, will be accessed by today or tomorrow," he added.
He further said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would visit Sikkim once he comes back from Washington.
Chidambaram later made an aerial survey of the worst-affected north Sikkim areas.
Earlier, addressing mediapersons, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling conceded that property worth rupees one trillion had been destroyed by the devastating earthquake.
"The earthquake has caused massive damage to life and property in Sikkim. I feel property worth rupees one trillion has been destroyed in the earthquake. At least 68 people have been killed in Sikkim, while more than 300 persons have been injured. The injured are presently undergoing medical treatment in state hospitals," he added.
Chamling further said the state government would provide ex-gratia monetary aid to the bereaved families and injured victims to compensate for their losses.
"We have decided to grant rupees five hundred thousand as ex-gratia compensation to the families of those killed the calamity. We will also give rupees 50000 to the injured victims as compensation," added Chamling.
A powerful earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude hit Sikkim and several areas in the eastern part of the country and neighbouring Nepal on the evening of September 18.
The epicentre of the quake was located in the Mangan and Sakyong areas, over 50 kilometres from Gangtok on the Sikkim-Nepal border.
Tremors were also felt in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Delhi.
KalimNews: Financial aid of Rupees five crore by the government of Madhya Pradesh, five crore by Bihar and two crore by Gujrat is announced.
62000 buildings damaged in tremor
TT, Jalpaiguri/Siliguri, Sept. 22: More than 62,000 buildings, both single and multi-storeied, were damaged completely or partially in the earthquake in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts.
Of them, around 3,300 were flattened, while the rest suffered partial damage in the tremor registered 6.8 on the Richter scale on Sunday.
“According to the information which has reached us, 52,000 houses have been partially damaged in Darjeeling district, while 2,800 were completely destroyed. In Jalpaiguri district, 480 houses were razed to the ground, while about 7,000 buildings developed cracks. Our officials are preparing a report on the damage and it will take three more days for us to come up with final figures,” said Jalpaiguri divisional commissioner A.K. Singh.
The tremor had brought to focus the rampant violation of rules governing construction and inferior quality of work in the real estate sector.
Singh will convene a high-level meeting next week to discuss the issue.
“Damaged structures in Siliguri and Jalpaiguri show that builders had compromised with quality during construction. We have reports that fibre pipes were used, instead of iron rods, and there was inappropriate use of concrete mixture comprising sand and cement. Several people living in such buildings have complained to the authorities about the poor quality of work,” said Singh.
“To make an end to such wrong practices, we have decided to hold a high-level meeting next week. Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district officials, representatives of the SJDA and Jaigaon Development Authority, civic bodies, the DGHC and the public works department, and realtors will be invited to the meeting,” he added.

Rescuers reach remote areas; quake toll now 104
Associated Press, Mangan, September 22, 2011: Rescuers on Thursday finally reached villages in remote northeast that were cut off by a powerful earthquake that rattled the Himalayan region last weekend, as the death toll in the disaster climbed past 100.
After the magnitude-6.9 quake struck on Sunday evening, rescue efforts were hampered by heavy rain and mudslides that blocked roads leading to villages in the remote, mountainous region.
As the weather improved Thursday, with no rain, helicopters ferried relief workers to the inaccessible areas, said R. Sahu, an Indian air force spokesman.
"Two air force helicopters have taken disaster management teams to inaccessible areas for relief work," Sahu said. Separately, aircraft dropped rice and other food items to nine inaccessible villages with a combined population of nearly 1,000, he said.
Also, workers used heavy machinery and dynamite to blast rocks to clear roads leading to inaccessible villages. Two injured people from Chungtan, one of the worst-hit villages, were taken by helicopter to a hospital, Sahu said.
Five more bodies were discovered overnight in debris, taking the overall death toll to 104, police said.
The bodies were found in the Mangan area close to the epicenter of the quake, which claimed lives in northeastern India, Tibet and Nepal.
Manmaya Rai at her residence in
Lower Bhalukop, Kalimpong
The deaths from the quake were spread across a wide swath of the region, with officials reporting 73 dead in the worst-hit state of Sikkim, 12 in West Bengal, six in Bihar, six in the neighboring Nepal and another seven in the Chinese region of Tibet. The toll was expected to rise as rescue workers gained more access to remote villages in the sparsely populated region.
Sikkim's chief minister, Pawan Kumar Chamling, told reporters on Wednesday that according to initial estimates, the earthquake had caused losses and damage worth 1 trillion rupees ($22 billion).
South African engineers being rescued from Sikkim's Tessta Urja power plant Chamling said that nine villages in northern areas were still cut off from the rest of the state.
While troops have been airlifting rescuers and dropping food and supplies to the cutoff areas, word on casualties and damage has been slow to come by.
On Wednesday, 17 people were confirmed killed by landslides in a hydroelectric project in the region, and one worker was missing.

Sikkim quake
Suvojit Bagchi, BBC Bengali, Gangtok: The relief effort has been criticised for mostly only providing help to foreigners.
In parts of the earthquake-hit Indian state of Sikkim, conditions on the ground are little short of apocalyptic.

Entire areas are cut off because of landslides - and more often than not people are without clean water, adequate food supplies, medicine and telephone contact with the outside world. 
Sikkim's hospitals have seldom been so full.
With local people bereft of help, it is hardly surprising that this disaster has created some resentment among them.
I experienced this overwhelming sense of frustration near Mangan - the epicentre of Sunday's quake - when a group of villagers stopped my car and demanded an explanation.
"Why are reporters focusing on the good work by the government, while no aid has reached any of the villages?" one of them angrily demanded.
Such was the angst of villagers that they seized my equipment and only returned it only after extracting a promise from me that I would report the "real story".
One of them, Rasi Tobgay, spoke for many when describing the destruction on the ground and the suffering of local people.
"It is impossible to take the seriously injured to the hospital because army helicopters are hovering with ministers in the sky," he said.
'Inactive' authorities
The villagers say little aid has been delivered beyond Mangan, although food packets have been air-dropped intermittently by the Indian air force.
It is estimated that about 100,000 houses have been damaged
Chungthang is in the southern end of north Sikkim and it is in this area that the quake has been the most catastrophic.
Hardly any parts of north Sikkim, connecting India to Tibetan plateau, have received any substantial aid since Sunday.
Action Aid spokeswoman Banamallika Choudhury - who has reached Chungthang - told the BBC that there have been no more than one or two daily helicopter sorties.
"Two helicopters can carry no more than three or four tonnes of food or medical supplies - and that is nothing for thousands of villagers," she said.
Ms Choudhury says that apart from rescuing a handful of tourists, the authorities have remained largely "inactive" in the face of a huge humanitarian disaster.
"The roads are still cut off, there is no supply of electricity or telephone connectivity and the villagers have to arrange for the rebuilding of houses while providing first aid to the injured," she said.

Destroyed house in SikkimConditions are going from bad to worse as more patients arrive for treatment having walked from distant villages to Gangtok”
Ms Choudhury says that local people "harassed" journalists who arrived in Chungthang on Wednesday night because they believe that the media has unthinkingly projected only the government's side of the story.
So has the response of the authorities been inadequate? Whatever the answer, there is no doubt they face numerous formidable challenges.
Principal among these are landslides, still taking place on a regular basis because of the quake and because recent heavy rainfall has loosened much of the mountainous land mass.
The state government may be stating the obvious when it reiterates that aid cannot get through while road remained blocked, but it remains a valid point.
One such post-quake landslide recently washed away several houses in Jaangu area, close to Chungthang.
"We are still counting the casualties," Sikkim government spokesman KS Tobgay told the BBC.
Bombarded by boulders
While the main road link connecting Sikkim to mainland India - national highway 31A - has reopened with a disturbed traffic flow, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) employees say that the task of clearing the highways is not getting any easier.
Relief is being delivered, but critics say it is too little, too late.
"We are working around the clock but even then traffic movement remains disrupted," BRP spokesman Rajaram Pal told me.
He said that the loosening of the land mass meant that no sooner had the highway been "cleaned" than more rocks and trees would fall down on top of it from the surrounding mountains.
One such landslide killed at least 17 workers in a hydropower plant in Chungthang, with employees literally bombarded by falling boulders.
The Sikkim government has admitted that the situation in north Sikkim is worrying and "no solution is in sight in the immediate future".
Mr Tobgay says that while "roads are being totally washed away" in and around Chungthang, it will take time to re-establish communication links.
In the meantime government officials at the forefront of the relief effort have been left with no option other than to trek 30-40km (18-24 miles) to reach places like Chungthang, Lachen, Lachung and Thangu valley, all close to India's border with Tibet.
So while the government relief effort is getting off the ground - with aid workers, doctors and disaster management teams being air-dropped in some areas - the numbers are small and the need is great.
On Wednesday there were 18 helicopter sorties that carried about 40 tonnes of food packets and medical supplies.
"That by no standard is adequate for hundreds of thousands of people," a government official said.
Meanwhile in the state capital Gangtok water supplies are becoming increasingly irregular. The state government has announced that water will only be supplied on alternate days in municipal areas.
If poor sanitation and water-borne diseases become problems, hospitals in the city are already flooded with patients, most with broken limbs.
"Conditions are going from bad to worse as more patients arrive for treatment, having walked from distant villages to Gangtok," one doctor in the city told me.
With no hope in sight for the beleaguered inhabitants of north Sikkim, the Indian home minister is visiting Gangtok "to take stock of the situation".
He does not need a team of advisers to realise that the state is facing its worst crisis in recent years and that the under-powered relief effort now needs to move into top gear.

The region has been hit by major earthquakes in the past, including in 1950 and 1897. 

The hut is tied with two ropes preventing from falling at Lower Bhalukop.. below Leprosy hospital area... Kalimpong

कालेबुङ दुर्बीन गुम्बा पनि क्षतीग्रस्त
डी के वाइबा, कालिमन्युज, कालेबुङ २२ सितम्बर : आईतबार आएको भुँइचालोले धार्मीक पर्यटक केन्द्र दुर्बीन गुम्बालाई पनि क्षतीग्रस्त पारिदिएको छ  । १३ मई १९५७ मा स्थापित भएको उक्त गुम्बा कालेबुङमा धार्मीक पर्यटन क्षेत्रको रुपमा प्रसिद्ध रहेको छ भने हाल केहीदिन अघी आएको भुँइचालोले यसको अधिकांश भागलाई चरकाएर क्षती पुराएको छ । भुँइचालोको कारण गुम्बामा राखिएको गुरु पद्म सम्भवको मुर्ती ढलेर क्षतिग्रस्त बनेको छ। गुम्बा क्षतीग्रस्त भएको कारण  हाल लामाहरुलाई पठन पाठनको निम्ती पनि जोखिमपूर्ण बनेको छ। भुँइचालोले गुम्बाको तल्लो भाग अनि दोस्रो तल्लामा निकै क्षती पुराएको छ। गुम्बाको बिभिन्न भागहरुमा क्षती भएको कारण लगभग  एक करोड रुपीया भन्दा पनि ज्यादाको नोक्सान भएको गुम्बा कर्तिपक्षले जानकारी दिएको छ । गुम्बाको अवस्था निकै खतराजनक् रहेको कारण हाल स्थानीय दुर्बीन सेना छाउनीको सेनाहरुलाई तैनाथ पनि गरिएको छ। गुम्बामा अनेकन मुल्यवान बस्तुहरु रहेको कारण पनि उक्त स्थानमा पहरा दिइएको बिशेष सुत्र मार्फत जनकारी पाइएको छ। यदी कुनै कारणवस केही भए गुम्बाको मुल्यवान सामग्रीहरुको क्षती तथा हराउन समेत सक्ने सम्भावना रहेको कारण पनि सेना तैनाथ गरीएको थाह लागेको छ ।

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