Sikkim floods another reminder to be more sensitive to local ecologies: Ramesh

The Congress leader said though difficult decisions can be challenging, they are essential to prevent such disasters

Sikkim faces a devastating flood crisis as a cloud burst triggers flash floods in Lachen Valley. (photo: IANS)
Sikkim faces a devastating flood crisis as a cloud burst triggers flash floods in Lachen Valley. (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Congress leader and former environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday condoled the deaths of those who fell victim to the flash floods in the River Teesta in Sikkim.

He said it is yet another reminder of how we must learn to be more sensitive to local ecologies while planning for and executing hydel projects, especially in geographically fragile areas.

In a post on X, Ramesh, who is also the Congress general secretary communications in-charge, said: “The flash floods on the Teesta in Sikkim that have taken the lives of a number of people including army personnel is most anguishing. The nation grieves at this tragedy. It is yet another reminder of how we must learn to be more sensitive to local ecologies while planning for and executing hydel projects especially in fragile areas.”

He added, "I don’t wish to say more at this painful moment except to recall my insistence as Minister on cumulative, comprehensive and credible environmental impact assessments before embarking on building dams."

“It is a tough call but hard decisions sometimes are called for to avoid such disasters. But we never seem to learn,” the Rajya Sabha MP also wrote.

His remarks came after a cloud burst over Lhonak Lake in north Sikkim resulted in a flash flood in the Teesta River in Lachen Valley on Wednesday.

According to reports, the floods started at around 1.30 am, resulting in 23 Indian Army personnel being reported missing and 41 vehicles submerged under the slush.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) launched rescue operations and several local residents have been safely evacuated so far.

The flash floods were compounded by release of water from the Chungthang Dam, which led to a sudden increase in water levels by up to 15-20 feet downstream.

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