Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Air Force Chopper Called To Airlift 300 Tourists Stranded In Himachal's Chandertal

A helicopter from the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been requisitioned to airlift the tourists stranded at Chandertal in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh while a rescue team from Kaza has reached Kunzum Top and is just eight kilometres away from the lake, Principal Secretary, Revenue, Onkar Chand Sharma said today.

Around 300 people, mostly tourists, are stuck in camps at Chandertal, located at an altitude of 14,100 feet, following rain and snowfall in the region.

"Two of them were facing breathing issues due to the high altitude and they would be airlifted," Mr. Sharma said.

All the stranded people would be evacuated to safe places by today night, he said, adding that about 100 people were rescued from different places in the hill state yesterday.

Two teams have been deputed for road restoration -- one from the Losar side and the other from Kaza. The team comprises members of the administration, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Roads Organisation (BRO), police and local villagers, the officials said.

Mr. Sharma informed that since the onset of the monsoon on June 24, the state has suffered a loss of ₹ 780 crore and the figure is expected to go up as excessive damage has been caused to roads, bridges and water supply schemes.

As many as 1,239 roads, including the Shimla-Kalka and Manali-Chandigarh national highways, are blocked due to heavy downpours over the last three days, according to the state emergency operation centre. Bus service is suspended on 1,416 routes of the Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) while 679 buses are held en route, transport officials said today.

The supply of essential items was hit in several areas of the hill state, including Shimla and Manali, as the Chandigarh-Manali and Shimla-Kalka national highways were closed following landslides, caving in of roads and flooding.

Several areas in Kullu and Mandi remained without electricity as 2,577 transformers were disrupted while the water supply was also affected in several areas, including state capital Shimla, as 1,418 water supply schemes have suffered damage.

Manali town and the adjoining areas remained cut off for almost a day as roads were blocked due to landslides. Mobile connectivity has also been disrupted.

The rains have stopped since yesterday evening and the rescue operations and road restoration work have gained pace as the water level in the rivers has subsided, Kullu Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg said. "We are hopeful that mobile networks would start working in Manali during the day," he added.

11/07/2023 PTI/NDTV

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