Sunday, October 14, 2007

A visit to 4 villages

Munthum, Kankebung, Yoke and Seokbir Khani are 4 villages approximately east of Kalimpong town, across the Relli river. I was up there on12Oct07 and spent a good 5 hrs walking around. In the time and resources available, I could visit much of Munthum, Kankebung and Seokbir Khani whereas my visit to Yoke was comparatively cursory. Local people of the area (Mr Dinesh Rai of Munthum, Mr Bimlal Poudyal of Kankebong, Mr Til Bahadur Rana and Mr Aiman Subba of Khani) accompanied and showed me areas where the Sep07 rains had caused the most damage. My report:-


Of the four villages Kankebung is certainly the most battered, even though perhaps because of a fatality there, Seokbir Khani was more in the news.

Extensive areas of paddy field and non arable land are cracked, sliding down or sinking in Kankebung and I met 3 farmers who had lost a total of at least 5 acres of land due to land slides or sinking land.

Landslides have also occurred in the close vicinity of Holy Cross School at Kankebung and the front porch of the school has also developed a crack. Many of the residents of Kankebung whom I talked to, were of the opinion that a major disaster would have occurred had the rains continued for 24hrs more; they were also apprehensive about the monsoons in the future since much of the land has gaping cracks and fissures.

In the first week of Sep07, seven homes (located in areas of imminent danger) were evacuated for several weeks and at least 10 big landslides have occurred in Kankebung.

Coincidentally, of the 4 villages which I toured, Kankebung has 8 jhoras (mountain rivulets), whereas the other three villages have 4 or less number of jhoras.

Menchi jhora which is on the border between Kankebung and Munthum is certainly the most destructive.

Suddenly a clear relationship is emerging between the devastation caused by rains and the number of untrained jhoras that we have.


In order of severity of damage suffered, this village seems to rank second. Though the number of sinking areas are less, they are certainly there.

Two major vertical cracks each approx 1km long have developed along the hillside in this area but villagers and erosion have covered up much of these fissures and they may be entirely invisible in the months to come . At least 3 major landslides have occurred in Munthum, but luckily these have not caused casualties.

As per local residents, there are 3 jhoras in this area.

Seokbir Khani

This area received all the media and govt attention undoubtedly due to the 2 deaths which occurred here (covered in the previous post).

At Khani, there are at least 3 areas where major land movements had started and cracks are visible in a paddy field and a hillside.

Seokbir Khani has 4 jhoras.


Much of Yoke seems to have been spared the devastation of the adjacent villages, however there is at least one big landslide in this area. Also, the effect of Relli river on the low lying areas of Yoke in the vicinity of these areas could not be ascertained.

praful rao

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