68 Dead, Quake Loss About 1 Lakh Crore in Sikkim

68 Dead, Quake Loss About 1 Lakh Crore in Sikkim
The loss from Sunday's devastating earthquake in Sikkim is estimated to be around Rs one lakh crore, Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling said today, while urging the Centre to grant a special package

"I think loss and damage will be not less than Rs one lakh crore. We will assess thoroughly the loss of properties," Chamling said at a press conference here.

"We are trying to assess the (exact) loss. We will do it in about 10 days and will submit a report and ask for a special package from the Centre," Chamling said.

68 people have so far died in the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that caused havoc in the small Himalayan state.

The chief minister announced compensation of Rs five lakh to the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured.

Chamling said that it would take a further two to three days to reach all places in the remote North Sikkim district.

"Nine villages are still totally inaccessible," he said.

On AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's visit this morning, he said, "We are hopeful. He has already made announcement to help the victims and the government of Sikkim.

"We expect help from him at this hour," Chamling said about Gandhi's brief visit to Sikkim Manipal Hospital here and to neighbouring Lopse.

Asked how prepared Sikkim was to tackle such a situation being an earthquake-prone state, the chief minister said, "The government and people of Sikkim are capable of tackling any such natural calamity."

Though the road from the Sikkim capital to Mangan, the epicentre of the quake located 55 kms from here, has been reopened, roads further north are still closed owing to landslides from Mangan to Chungthang.

Chamling expressed his gratitude to Centre and the Army for their prompt action in rescue and relief operations and restoration of road commutation on National Highway 31‘A’.

The chief minister said barring North Sikkim, tourists can visit any part of the state during the upcoming tourist season beginning from October.
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