Relief and rescue operations of the Himachal Pradesh government to evacuate the people stranded in Kinnaur district due o floods have suffered because air force helicopters ran short of fuel.
The two army helicopters pressed into service remained grounded on Wednesday due to fuel shortage even as people waited on the helipads in various villages.
Neither of the choppers could take off from the Annandale helipad in Shimla. Air Force choppers received fuel in evening on Wednesday.
People were irked because government officials did not inform them about the cancellation of flights.
“We had a harrowing time. I had to wait for 11 hours at the helipad without water and food,” Valentina, a visitor from Croatia, told Hindustan Times on the phone.
The authorities are finding it difficult to move animals also.
“There are nearly 4,000 sheep stuck in the Ropa Valley,” NDRF commandant Jaideep Singh told HT on the phone. Those stranded, however, appreciated the hospitality of the locals.
“Local people are extending every possible help. There has been no instance of overcharging, while many shops are running short of stocks,” said a government official. The government has released Rs 10 crore for relief work.
In Shimla chief secretary Sudripta Roy said: “As many as 400-500 people are still stranded in different parts of Kinnaur and 69 people were airlifted on Wednesday to Rampur. In all 278 people have been airlifted since yesterday. We have directed the Indian Oil authorities and other agencies to ensure the availability of aviation fuel.”
The government has said in evacuation work, priority will be given to the sick, the elderly and children.