Alaichikhop straddles the underbelly of Kalimpong and comprises the entire place below the Arts and Craft Centre or the
On the 07 Sep2007, at around the residents of this area heard a loud rumbling noise and with that the whole garbage dump exploded in a monstrous landslide, spewing maybe thousands of tonnes of filthy waste, mud and rocks into the valley below.
The deluge of junk literally swept away paddy fields, alaichi (cardamom) fields, trees and fertile farmland and is today a horrific morass of garbage(SLIDE2,3,&4). I talked to Mr KT Lepcha and Mrs Manmaya Rai(SLIDE 5) both of whom had lost precious farmland in the garbage slide. Apart from listening to them there was nothing I could do- except perhaps feel the same sense of helplessness and apprehension that unless something is done urgently- more disaster will follow in the years to come.
The impact of the landslide, as it crashed thru the valley was so great that many houses in the village have sustained structural damage, (SLIDE6&7); in fact like so many places that I have visited and seen, parts of the whole hill side in lower Alaichikhop are extensively cracked.
In this area I saw 3 abandoned houses, one to which the owner had tied a dog to guard a deserted tenement (SLIDE 8).
All the village folk from the abandoned houses today, live in the UKG section of Champamaya school at Upper Lamini Gaon, Alaichikhop- mercifully, World Vision(India), Dr Graham's School, Parnami Yuwa Trust Bhalukhop Farmer's Club and the Gram Panchayat have moved forward and offered assistance to these people...
Three weeks after the landslides, unknown to most in Kalimpong, there are 29 people still living in the school; many of them children-
Alaichikhop's forgotten children.