A group of five friends from the city was among 1,000 people whom the Indian Air Force brought to Chandigarh from Srinagar late Wednesday.
Surjit Singh, a Sector 40-based businessman, claimed that disaster management was a complete failure in flood-ravaged Kashmir. No warning was issued even after water started pouring in, he said.
“We were taken by surprise when our hotel near the Dal Lake in Srinagar was under deluge last Sunday, leaving all of us completely vulnerable,” he said. His friend Kashmir Singh, a resident of Phase 11 in SAS Nagar, said they were without food and water for three days before they were rescued and brought back home.
“The local administration and police are doing nothing there. They are even not providing basic food and water. Thanks to the Indian armed forces, we managed to reach home safely. Our jawans are speeding up the evacuation process and helping in saving innocent lives,” he said. Other members of the group said the situation over there is horrifying. While locals still manage to reach safe places, no one is paying much attention to tourists who are at the mercy of gods.
Vivek Suman, another city resident who was in Srinagar on official trip since September 4, said he spent several nights without food and electricity. Regional head of an IT firm, he said a decrease in temperature worsened the matter further.
“I was stuck on my hotel roof for four days. I had almost lost patience before I was rescued,” he said. Others survivors had similar stories to tell. Most of them were migrant labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. They were helped by the local air force unit in boarding buses and trains.
Several city NGOs are also in touch with air force officials and are giving money to people to help them reach home.
Won’t forget trip: Indonesian nationals
A group of seven Indonesian national which reached Chandigarh said their adventure trip to Srinagar turned sour. One of the members, Elya Surie, said they reached Srinagar on September 1 and had planned to trek in Sonmarg.
“Due to excessive rain, we got stuck in our hotel room. We could have died as the flood water inundated our hotel,” he added. Herry Utma, another Indonesian national, said it was his second trip to Srinagar but this one would haunt him for a long time. Two young couples from Nabha and Amritsar who were on their honeymoon trip also landed at the Chandigarh Air Force Station.
Bhupesh Bansal, who got married recently reached Srinagar on September 4 with his wife Mehak, said they spent three nights on the road without any water and food.
“The situation over there is critical as there is a long queue of tourists waiting to be airlifted,” he added.
Another couple, Simranjit Singh and Rabia, said locals were more helpful than the administration and local police there. “They gave us food and water, and safe shelter,” they said.