While the state government struggles to gather information about the Himachalis stuck up in quake-hit Nepal, the tragedy has raised concern for the scores of "Gurkhas" who are also the backbone of the apple economy in the state.
The Himachal Pradesh government has directed deputy commissioner across all 12 districts to gather information about any Himachali gone missing in Nepal after the tragic incident. The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) had shot off a letter to the home department, appraising it about the communiqué it had received from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that sought details about the Himachalis who had gone to Nepal.
"We have forwarded the NDMA's communiqué to the home department," an official of the State Disaster Management Authority told Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, the earthquake in Nepal that jolted northern India has increased the worries of both the Nepalese settlers and the migrant labourers across the state. "From morning to evening I keep trying numbers of my relatives to the get information about the devastation caused by the quake. I am clueless about the fate of my village, my relatives and my house," says 46-year-old Jagdish Punn, a resident of Pung a village in Nepal's Rolpa district.
Jagdish is one of the many labourers who come to Himachal's fruit growing areas each year to earn their livelihood.
"It's shocking that many of our people back home have lost their lives. The quake has shattered scores of villages," said Palli Ram, a Nepalese Contractor who heads the Shimla Chapter of Nepali Mool Parvaha Ekta Samaj - an organisation working for the welfare of Nepalese immigrants.
"Out state convener himself is stuck up in Kathmandu. We have no information about his whereabout. As soon as he comes back, we will hold a meeting to raise funds to help our brethren back home," says Palli, who has been working in Shimla for the past two decades.
Arjun Singh, who has works at Dharamsala, said he was worried about his family as his house has been damaged in the devastating quake. "The family members called me the day quake struck my country. They informed me that all of them are safe but house has been damaged. After that I have not heard from them. I am just leaving to meet my family," said Singh.
Nearly one lakh Nepalese labourers visit Himachal Pradesh for seasonal employment. The concentration of Nepalese is more in the apple growing areas of Shimla, Kullu, Kinnaur and Mandi district.