Residents Near Sikkim Glacial Lake Evacuated After Likely Breach Warning

A general map view of Thangu in Sikkim


The authorities in Sikkim have started evacuating residents from the banks of Shako Cho lake near Lachen in Mangan district in Sikkim. The lake is on the verge of bursting, prompting the authorities to issue an alert.

The Shako Cho glacial lake is above the village of Thangu. The is 1.3-km-long and the village is only 12 km away.

The entire Golitar area in Singtam in Gangtok district, Dikchu in Mangan district and Rangpo IBM area in Pakyong district has been cleared by the authorities.

Gangtok district magistrate Tushare Nikhare said satellite data showed abnormal increase in glacial temperature over Sako Chu. It won’t be an issue if the temperature stabilises, the officer said, adding they will check the condition of the area at 7.30 am again.

“As a precautionary measure, however, an evacuation advisory is in place. Since silt has been deposited, any sudden discharge of water will be at an elevated level over deposited debris and can cause damage,” Mr Nikhare.

The central government said it will make a detailed assessment of damage to hydropower projects in Sikkim after the flood water recedes.

The state-owned hydropower giant NHPC is taking all possible measures to get the hydropower projects operational at the earliest, the Power Ministry said.

According to a statement, Power Secretary Pankaj Agrawal held an emergency meeting on Wednesday with NHPC, where senior officers of the ministry and Central Electricity Authority were also present.

Due to flash floods in the Teesta basin, all the bridges downstream to Teesta-V hydropower station up to Tarkhola and Pamphok have been submerged or washed away, thus affecting travel and communication in these areas.

The floodwater overtopped the dam of Teesta V power station (510 MW). All connecting roads to the project sites as well as parts of the residential colony have been severely damaged, it stated.

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