Rangpo

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Rangpo
city
Rangpo is located in Sikkim
Rangpo
Rangpo
Coordinates: 27°11′N 88°32′E / 27.18°N 88.53°E / 27.18; 88.53Coordinates: 27°11′N 88°32′E / 27.18°N 88.53°E / 27.18; 88.53
Country India
State Sikkim
District East
Elevation 333 m (1,093 ft)
Population (2001)
 • Total 3,724
Languages
 • Official Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Limbu, Newari, Rai, Gurung, Mangar, Sherpa, Tamang and Sunwar
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Rangpo is a town in East Sikkim in the Indian state of Sikkim. The town borders West Bengal and is situated along the Teesta river. It is the first town in Sikkim on NH 31A that links Siliguri to Gangtok. It is about 200 m above sea level with a sub-tropical climate. All vehicles entering Sikkim have to stop here. Foreign tourists require documents to enter Sikkim state and have to show them at the border police post.

Rangpo has a large population of Nepalis and Bhutias. Marwari businessmen have settled in the town and own most of the shops.

Geography[edit]

Rangpo is located at 27°11′N 88°32′E / 27.18°N 88.53°E / 27.18; 88.53.[1] It has an average elevation of 333 metres (1093 feet).

Demographics[edit]

As of 2001 India census,[2] Rangpo had a population of 3,724. Males constitute 55% of the population and females 45%. Rangpo has an average literacy rate of 70%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 75%, and female literacy is 63%. In Rangpo, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.

New Sikkim Railway Project[edit]

The foundation stone for construction of a new railway line from Rangpo to Sevoke railway station on the border of Sikkim with West Bengal was laid in October 2009 by vice president of India.[3] In 2008, the track was proposed to be 53 km long. However, the 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) broad gauge track finally may be 45 km long, 1 km of which will be in Sikkim state and the rest in West Bengal state. 32 km of the track will be in tunnels[4][5] with almost equal number of bridges on deep gorges and valleys with proposed 65 km per hour speed limit. New railway stations will be constructed at Melli, Tista Bazar, Geilkhola, Riang and Rangpo. The track will be constructed through the foothills of Kanchanjungha mountain range and Teesta river valley and will offer very beautiful views.

The new railway line will be beneficial to people of Sikkim for easier access to the rest of India through Siliguri and the Indian army for movement of troops and support to the border with Tibet. It will boost the state's economy and tourism.

In 2008 the project was planned to be completed in 2015 at estimated cost of INR 13.4 billion[6] but is likely to be delayed like most projects of Indian Railways as the construction had not started by March 2013. The Indian Railways signed a contract with the construction company, IRCON, only in May 2010 and the work has been progressing at a very slow pace. The final alignment had not been fixed for the first 22 km through elephant sanctuary forest in 2013 and the final clearance of environment ministry had not been received.[7] To obtain approval of the environment and forest ministry, the railways made a proposal in February 2013 to install elephant sensors along the stretch of the proposed railway line in Mahananda elephant sanctuary or run the trains at a speed of only 20 km per hour in the forest area and stop when an elephant is sighted close to the track.[8] Construction of the railway line had started by March 2013.

People of two villages in East Sikkim, through which a 3.5 km stretch of the 45 km long railway line has been planned, had not agreed to give their land for laying the track.[9]

References[edit]