Sunday, July 14, 2024

Leave vehicles in disaster-hit areas, move to destinations: Himachal CM

Asking stranded tourists to leave vehicles behind in disaster-hit areas and move to their destinations, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu said 60,000 people have been evacuated from across the state by Thursday.

He said rehabilitation of affected locals and restoration of roads and communication networks in worst-affected flood-hit areas of Kullu and Lahaul Spiti districts were underway on a war footing.

The Chief Minister said efforts are underway to evacuate the remaining 10,000 individuals, who are currently putting up at Kasol and Tirthan Valley and were reluctant to leave their vehicles behind.

To alleviate their concerns, Sukhu assured them that their vehicles would be safeguarded. He said an officer up to the rank of an Assistant Superintendent of Police has been deputed in Kasol to persuade the tourists to move out with the assistance of the district administration safely towards their destinations.

An arrangement has been made wherein the local administration will be issuing an official receipt and guaranteeing the retrieval of their vehicles once the connecting roads are fully restored.

Talking to the media in Kullu, the Chief Minister, who has been personally overseeing the relief and rescue operation for over 60 hours, acknowledged the promptness of officials and employees in the restoration of electricity, water and mobile network services within 48 hours.

He said 1,000 officials have been deployed in affected areas of Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts.

In response to a query from the media, Sukhu said the Israeli Embassy has also reached out to the state government, expressing their willingness to evacuate their nationals from the affected areas of Kasol and Tirthan through their own special sorties for which the government has no objection.

He said all foreign tourists are safe and essential commodities were being ensured to them.

Updating on rescue operations at the Chandertal lake in Spiti, the Chief Minister said the rescue convoy evacuated all 255 tourists early in the morning in subzero temperature.

“The tourists are being taken towards Kaza in four batches, braving the chill of Kunzum Pass (4,551 metres). The rescue operation at Chandertal has been closed as about 250 tourists have been evacuated from the site in 57 vehicles and they were being brought to Kaza in four batches.”

He also lauded the efforts of Horticulture Minister Jagat Singh Negi, who led the rescue teams, along with Chief Parliamentary Secretary Sanjay Awasthi, besides the Kaza administration and the PWD authorities who despite challenging topography of mountains happened to reach the stranded at Chandertal with three JCBs at 2 am.

Later, the Chief Minster visited the Army Relief Camp at Choling in Tapri sub-tehsil and enquired about wellbeing of the rescued people from Sangla. He said 118 people have been rescued through six sorties from Sangla to Choling in Karcham in Kinnaur district and they will be further transshipped towards Shimla and Chandigarh, marking the completion of the rescue operation in Sangla.

The Chief Minister acknowledged and appreciated the contribution of the Indian Army and the local administration which rescued people from different parts of the state.

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