Family of 7 escapes crumbling boulder

Nisha Chettri
Kalimpong June 8, 2015:

Last night around 12:00 pm a huge rolling rock about 640 cubic feet (cft) slid down the hill and crumbled Sunar’s house in Okharbotay, Upper Bhagay, Sangsay G.P, 14th mile.

Surprisingly the night was calm without rainfall or storms, Subekcha Sunar, (12 years) the niece of house owner speaking to this Journalist said that a huge rock rolled down at midnight while she along with her elder sister was sleeping with their uncle in his room.

 It was informed that the rock ripped the GCI (Galvanized Corrugated Iron) sheet of the room when the two little girls along with their uncle were sleeping, ‘Initially I thought it was another tremor crumbling the entire hill, later to know it was a rock besides our niece in the room’ said Bal Badhur Sunar, the owner of the house.

 Luckily the little girls were saved with few inches while the extended family of 7 feels that it is a miracle to be alive. Bal Badhur, later clarified that the rock measuring 640 CFT rolled down from 50 feet above their house which was cracked before hitting their roof, ‘the rock got in two pieces, the smaller chunk entered my son’s room and the larger gushed and destroyed our temple outside’ said Sunar who is a grocery vendor.

 The larger rock demolished their small temple which was built with aluminum sheets adjacent to the main house. The boulder soon went down in a speed crushing another Kumar Rai’s pig sty and their scullery. (Kumar’s house is below the main road which leads to Rangpoo, Sunar’s house is above the road)
 Meanwhile Sunar’s wife who also assists him in collecting vegetables from outskirts believes that there is some supernatural power giving signal to leave the place (Okharbotay) and shift somewhere else.
The family was shifted to Okharbotay in February 2014, ‘we even conducted the prayers before shifting to this place, the puja was done properly’ rued Sunar who now feels that it is unsafe for them to stay there.    

 The family was not yet relocated till the time this journalist visited the spot, later a source informed through telephone that a neighbor volunteered their front porch and  the villagers came together to fix a temporary tarpaulin tent.

The people who gathered at Sunar’s resident in the afternoon said that two more houses were at risk where the loose soil and the protruding rocks may fall down anytime, ‘the last earthquake might have loosened the soil’s capacity of holding trees and rocks’ said one from the crowd.

 Sumitra Sunar, the grocery vendor’s wife suffered from small cuts in her right foot while she rushed to rescue her two little nieces at midnight, she was provided with first aid in the afternoon by the local nurse, ‘the rock also broke the window and the glasses were scattered on the floor, I was panicked and ran without my slipper to check if my nieces and my son were okay’ Said Sumitra.
 Sunar’s family stayed sulking since midnight unable to contact anyone for help, people slowly started gathering after dawn.

The executive assistant and other staff of Sangsay G.P visited the spot and provided Sunar’s family with the normal relief materials like blankets and tarpaulins this afternoon, said a source. 

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