39 tourists from Pune stranded in quake-hit Nepal
According to the two private operators, a group of 39 people from the city had gone to Nepal for pilgrimage and to visit tourist destinations in the last week of October
At least 39 tourists from Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas are stranded in Nepal after a high-magnitude earthquake struck the Himalayan nation on Friday night.
According to the two private operators, a group of 39 people from the city had gone to Nepal for pilgrimage and to visit tourist destinations in the last week of October.
Mahesh Rahane, a resident of Dhayari, who deals in the industrial wall supply business, booked a 13-day Nepal tour along with his wife and sister-in-law with Archies International Tours and Travels. He started his tour on October 26 from Pune. After visiting Kathmandu, Pashupatinath, Muktinath, and Pokhara on Friday, Rahane’s family among others reached Chitwan for jungle safari.
Rahane said, “After the jungle safari, on Friday night we were resting at Hotel Royal Safari when at around 11:51 pm, when we felt strong tremors.”
According to Rahane, the tourists ran towards a safer open plot in a garden nearby and spent almost the night there.
Another tourist Sanjay Padalikar, a resident of Sinhagad Road area, who deals in the industrial paint business, is also in Nepal along with his wife. Padalikar said, “People are in panic.There are many senior citizens in our group. It was difficult for us to shift them to a safer place during the night as there was no lift facility at our hotel.”
According to Padalikar, all tourists are safe. Initially, they faced difficulties in reaching out to their family members in Pune, but on Saturday morning they called their family members.
Tour operator Subodh Relekar, Archies International Tours and Travel, said, “My room was on the third floor where I had experienced severe intensity tremors. Immediately, we evacuated all tourists in our group to a safer place and no one was injured in the incident.’’
According to Relekar, the group had planned to visit Lumbini place on Saturday and Sunday, but considering the earthquake incident and fear among the tourists, they cancelled visits to other destinations and decided to return back to Pune.
Relekar said, “We have contacted local authorities and in the next two to three days we will reach Pune.”
Stranded tourists complained that they had spent the entire night at an open spot and no immediate help like food was provided by the local administration. Many senior citizens in the group panicked as they were already suffering from high blood pressure and diabetic disorders.
HT contacted Pune district administration, but they were unaware of the stranded tourists.
Vitthal Banote, district management officer for Pune district, said, “No one from the families of the stranded people contacted us. But we are ready to provide all necessary help for their safe evacuation from Nepal.’’
More than 155 people died and dozens were injured after a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 struck northwestern districts of Nepal, late on Friday night. The earthquake’s impact was felt as far as India’s capital, New Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), over 800 kilometres away. Officials said that the death toll may rise as communication with many affected areas has been disrupted. The death toll in Nepal could go up as the rescue work is underway.