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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2019

Himachal Prdaesh deploys buses, choppers to evacuate stranded tourists from Lahaul-Spiti

More than 670 roads, including major highways, across Himachal Pradesh were partially or completely blocked due to landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rains across various parts of the hill state over the weekend.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2019 13:15 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
The traffic towards 13,050 feet-high Rohtang pass—the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti district— was suspended as the local streams continue to remain in spate.
The traffic towards 13,050 feet-high Rohtang pass—the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti district— was suspended as the local streams continue to remain in spate.(ANI Photo)
         

Authorities in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday used buses and helicopters to evacuate the more than 1,000 tourists from Lahaul and Spiti after a freak snowfall and landslides triggered by incessant rains over the weekend left them stranded in the tribal district.

More than 670 roads, including major highways, across Himachal Pradesh were partially or completely blocked due to landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rains across various parts of the hill state over the weekend.

The traffic towards 13,050 feet-high Rohtang pass—the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti district— was suspended as the local streams continue to remain in spate. The Leh-Manali highway was also closed for traffic due to landslides and flash floods at several places, including Pagal Nullah, Koksar, Bharatpur, Rohtang and Sarchu.

Also Read: 30 dead as Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand bear brunt of rain fury, Delhi on flood alert

And, a freak snowfall on Sunday threw life out of gear in the tribal district where more than 34 roads were cut off.

Officials said about 300 tourists, who were stranded in Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti, were brought to Koksar and then taken to Manali from there.

“Arrangements are being made to transport the stranded tourists through vehicles as the blocked roads will be thrown open by afternoon. If need be the government will requisition choppers to evacuate the tourists,” director of the state’s Disaster Management Authority DC Rana said.

The state’s agriculture minister Ram Lal Markanda was also stuck in Kaza for the last two days. Markanda sought a government helicopter to reach Shimla to attend the ongoing session of the state assembly.

About 400 vehicles were also stuck between Sissu town and Koksar.

The district administration dispatched a team of doctors to Chatru in Lahaul Spiti for the checkup of trekkers stuck in the region. About 100 tourists were also stranded in Chatru after the landslides snapped road connectivity. Few of the tourists were suffering from high-altitude sickness.

The public works department and Border Road Organisation (BRO) have restored connectivity between Manali to Sarchu. BRO deployed bulldozers and other earth-moving machines to clear off roads between Gramphoo and Kaza after a portion of the road was washed away.

A major portion of the Manali-Leh highway has been opened for traffic. Officials said the road connecting Sumdoh to Grampho will be open for traffic by afternoon.

First Published: Aug 20, 2019 13:14 IST