The death toll in the bordering Himalayan state of Sikkim due to Sunday's mega earthquake and subsequent landslides is still mounting while over 300 have been hospitalised even as rescue and damage repair operations have been hampered by incessant rains that has been continuing for the last four days.
19 of 40 the dead are from the worst-hit north Sikkim.
About 1 lakh houses have been damaged while 1,000 of them been reduced to rumbles. A source in Gangtok informed rediff.com that the quake caused major damage to the state secretariat forcing Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling to issue instruction to all employees not to operate from it anymore.
The army has so far deployed over 2,500 jawans in rescue and damage-repair operations. In addition, over 1,000 Indo Tibetan Border Police personnel, 3,000 Sikkim police personnel and over 200 state disaster management personnel are working overtime to bring normalcy to earthquake ravaged Sikkim.
Meanwhile, a large number of migrant labourers, mainly from Bihar and West Bengal, are fleeing Sikkim out of panic with a vow not to return.
The Sikkim government announced Rs 5 lakh compensation against each of the deaths and Rs 50,000 compensation to each of the injured.
Sources informed that a large number National Disaster Response Force personnel bound for Sikkim have remained stranded at Bagdogra airport in West Bengal due to inclement weather.
Large numbers of government buildings, hospital buildings and education institutions have been damaged due to the impact of the earthquake that has left at least 25 bridges with cracks along the National Highway connecting Siliguri and Sikkim.
All the three roads connecting Sikkim have been blocked due to landslides triggered by the earthquake leaving thousands of vehicles stranded on the roads.
The army engaged in rescue and damage-repair operations claims that the main highway connecting Sikkim could be opened towards the evening after emergency repair of damaged bridges and clearing of landslides.
Water and power supply have been badly disrupted in earthquake-hit Sikkim and official sources informed that it would take at least four days to restore normalcy.