With a major earthquake measuring 6.8 on the richter scale rocking mountainous state of Sikkim, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday spoke to its chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling and offered help in all possible ways, including availability of defence forces.
Dr Singh directed cabinet secretary Ajit Kumar Seth to call an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority and take stock of the damage that has taken place in Sikkim and other regions hit by the quake, PMO sources said.
During the conversation with the CM, he offered all possible help, including making available defence forces for rescue and relief operations. Two Indian Air Force planes have been pressed into action for Sikkim earthquake relief operations. While one aircraft will leave from Hindon Airport to Bagdogra and from there on rush relief material by road to Sikkim with the help of the West Bengal police and border security force, the other plane will leave from Kolkatta for Baghdore to reach Gangtok.
Personnel from the National Disaster Rescue force are also being rush to Sikkim to help in the relief and rescue operation.
The PM spoke to Chamling soon after the earthquake hit the state, causing extensive damage. Many buildings including the famous Manipal university building has developed cracks.