Himachal Pradesh rains: Officials rescue 35 IIT Roorkee from Lahaul-Spiti district; over 1,500 tourists still stranded

Kullu deputy commissioner on Wednesday confirmed that 35 IIT Roorkee students who went missing in Lahaul-Spiti district, were rescued by Border Roads Organisation (BRO). The students went missing after trekking from Hampta trekking pass in Kullu and are now at a Mountaineering Institute in Manali, ANI reported.

Over 1,500 tourists are still stranded in snow-marooned Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Wednesday adding that the evacuation is on but it might take days.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has instructed officials to evacuate those stranded on a priority basis, a statement said. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has deployed three helicopters, while the state is using the chief minister's official chopper for rescue work.

 Himachal Pradesh rains: Officials rescue 35 IIT Roorkee from Lahaul-Spiti district; over 1,500 tourists still stranded

Choppers of the IAF and the state government are being used to airlift those stranded in Himachal Pradesh. ANI

On Wednesday as the weather cleared, the state government and the IAF stepped up their efforts to airlift tourists stranded for the past four days."Choppers of the IAF and the state government are on the job to airlift those stranded. Most of them will be brought to Kullu town," Kullu deputy commissioner Yunus Khan told IANS.

He further said that five nationals of Denmark and Norway have been rescued and efforts to airlift and rescue around 100 people would be made today along with those stranded in Keylong and nearby areas.

Additional District Magistrate Akshay Sood on Wednesday told ANI that people from different parts of Lahaul would be airlifted to Stingri helipad.

ANI also reported that one woman died and two Border Roads Organisation (BRO) workers were injured in Keylong Sarai area, in Lahaul-Spiti district. Body of the deceased person and the two injured persons would be airlifted soon.

Heavy snowfall on the Rohtang Pass has cut off the Lahaul and Spiti valleys affecting a large number of tourists who went to Leh and Lahaul. They have been stranded at number of isolated locations, the BRO, a wing of the defence ministry said. They have also started clearing the snow from various roads on a war footing. Some of the stretches had over eight feet of snow.

From the Project Rohtang Tunnel, a team under leadership of Major Shashi Chauhan and Captain Aashish Singla along with machinery have been deployed to clear road axis up to Sissu and Koksar in the Lahaul Valley to supplement efforts of the the BRO. They are also providing medical aid and refreshment to rescued people at the Project Rohtang Tunnel.

Early snowfall in higher reaches, cloud burst and heavy rains devastated large parts of the state from 22 September to 24 September. Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti were the worst affected districts. A total of 300 people were evacuated by Tuesday evening most of whom were faculty and students from IITs Mandi, Roorkee, Guwahati and Mumbai and some foreigners.

With inputs from agencies 

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Updated Date: Sep 26, 2018 12:22:01 IST