Rescue operations in full swing as rains hit pause button in Himachal Pradesh
An official informed that another team of rescuers was on its way to Bharatpur in Lahaul-Spiti where 70 people, including foreign tourists, are stranded.Updated: Sep 26, 2018 09:52 IST
As the rains hit the pause button in the hill state, as many as 50 IIT-students on a trek in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul valley were rescued by Indian Air Force helicopters, while hundreds of people remain stranded in other areas in Lahaul and Spiti district, officials said on Tuesday.
Rescue operations in Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts were on in full swing on Tuesday. Teams of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and district administration rescued 300 stranded people from Killing Sarai in Lahaul and Spiti district along the Manali-Leh highway, later they were shifted to a nearby BRO camp, officials said.
An official informed that another team of rescuers was on its way to Bharatpur in Lahaul-Spiti where 70 people, including foreign tourists, are stranded.
As many as five people, including three women, who were stranded at Patsio, a camp at the foot of 4,890-metre Baralacha La mountain pass, were rescued by an IAF’s MI8 helicopter. Five doctors from Jaipur have also been rescued and reached Manali.
A team of six trekkers from New Delhi and Shimla is missing in Kinnaur district, officials said. A rescue operation will be launched on Wednesday.
An official said at least three hundred vehicles, including buses, taxis, trucks, private cars and bikes, are stranded from Koksar to Keylong in the district.
A group of 45 students of IIT-Roorkee, five India-born US nationals and two German trekkers were rescued on Tuesday in a joint operation by the district administration and the BRO, officials said. They were stranded in Lahaul valley as landslides triggered by heavy snow damaged the road links to Manali.
The IAF will start airlifting the stranded people, comprising locals and tourists on Wednesday morning. They will be brought to Manali and Kullu towns. They have been stranded for the past two-three days at various locations in and around district headquarters Keylong after the onset of heavy snow that hampered road links. All are safe and have been provided accommodation and eatables, officials said.
“Nearly 45 students of IITRoorkee were taken to an army base camp at Sissu from where they were brought to Manali via Rohtang tunnel,” an official said.
He said most of the stranded people were brought to Keylong, some 121 km from Manali, and from there would be either airlifted by the IAF or brought to Manali by road on Wednesday.
However, there is still no information about the nine researchers from Kolkata who have been stranded somewhere near 5,480-metre Gangstang glacier.
Lahaul-Spiti administration has been trying to establish contact with them, officials said.
Students stranded in Chamba safe
Over 800 students and their teachers, who had gone to Chamba district to participate in a sports competition, are stranded in a remote Holi area of tribal Bharmour sub-division due to landslides. The stranded include 399 boys and 417 girls, besides their teachers and other staff.
Prithi Pal Singh, additional district magistrate (ADM) Bharmour, said, “All the students are safe. They are lodged at Government School, Holi.”
The villagers and administrative officials are taking care of their food and other requirements. A doctor has also been deployed for their health checkups, he said, adding that the administration has pressed men and machinery to clear the road.
MeT predicts dry weather
The Indian meteorological department (IMD) on Tuesday predicted dry weather for the state from Wednesday onwards. The monsoon activity, which was vigorous in the state on Monday, remained less active on Tuesday and the weather will generally remain dry from Wednesday onwards, said director of Shimla MeT Centre Manmohan Singh.
Traffic partially restored
Meanwhile, the traffic from Mandi to Kullu was opened after 36 hours on Tuesday morning as the water-level in Beas river receded considerably. The road was blocked at Dwada near Aut in Mandi district after river water spilled onto the road on Sunday.
Traffic to picturesque tourist resort Manali was also restored partially on Tuesday, a day after all major road links snapped due to landslides triggered by heavy rains, officials said.
However, the administration has advised the motorists to travel towards Manali only in case of emergency. “The traffic was partially restored through a narrow link road. Only small vehicles have been allowed. Chances of more landslides are high. The national highway between Kullu and Manali is still blocked at various places,” subdivisional magistrate Raman Gharsanghi said.
CM takes stock of situation
Meanwhile, CM Jai Ram Thakur visited Kullu to take stock of the rehabilitation and rescue operations.
He also took an aerial survey of the Lahaul valley up to Chandertal to access the damage caused by untimely snow.
(With inputs from agencies)
First Published: Sep 26, 2018 09:52 IST