2,000 tourists stranded in Kasol evacuated, says Himachal CM Sukhu 

Several hotels and tourism units offered free stay and food to the stranded tourists and shared the addresses and contact numbers of their hotels on social networking sites.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur inspects the flood-affected areas, in Mandi, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (Photo|PTI)
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur inspects the flood-affected areas, in Mandi, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (Photo|PTI)

SHIMLA/KULLU: As many as 2,000 tourists stranded in Kasol area of Kullu district owing to incessant rainfall have been evacuated safely, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said on Wednesday.

He also said that over 300 tourist vehicles stuck in Lahaul have left for their respective destinations.

The Kullu-Manali road was opened Tuesday evening and about 2,200 vehicles crossed Kullu.

There was no mobile signal in several areas in Manali and its suburbs for the past two days and the tourists were unable to contact their families, officials said.

"Over 2,000 stranded individuals in Kasol have been successfully evacuated as of now. Our teams are working tirelessly to clear the Dunkhara landslide on the Kasol-Bhuntar road.

District administration is on-site coordinating relief efforts. 2200+ vehicles have safely passed through Kullu, receiving food support at Ramshilla Chowk.

I personally oversee the situation and remain committed to overcoming these challenges. Stay strong, Himachal Pradesh!," Sukhu said in a tweet.

"The tourist vehicles that were stranded in Lahaul were also evacuated at night. Over 300 tourist vehicles left for their respective destinations," he said in another tweet.

ASP (Kullu) Ashish Sharma said a check post has been installed where the police are collecting details of the (stranded) people and sharing them on our Facebook page.

Relief materials are also being provided to them, and food and drinking water is being made available at Ramshilla Chowk, he said.

A large number of tourists were struck in various parts of Kullu and Lahaul following landslides and flash floods leading to the blocking of roads.

They were being lodged in hotels, rest houses, homestays and other holiday destinations.

Several hotels and tourism units offered free stay and food to the stranded tourists and shared the addresses and contact numbers of their hotels on social networking sites.

The holiday, however, came as a nightmare for most of the tourists.

"We had limited cash, the mobile connectivity and electricity were snapped, ATMs were not working and hoteliers were adamant on payment.

We told them that our relatives would pay online, but they said it cannot be done as there is no mobile connectivity," said a tourist from Baroda.

Meanwhile, road rescue teams are clearing the snow en route to Chandertal.

About 300 tourists were stranded at Chandertal since Saturday, out of which seven unwell tourists, including two elderly and a girl, were airlifted to Bhuntar from Chandertal Tuesday evening.

Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kaza, Rahul Jain, who is leading the rescue party, said the road near Kunzum pass is covered under three to four feet of snow and the road restoration operation is going on in full swing.

The chief minister on Tuesday said all stranded tourists would be evacuated by Wednesday and maintained that six helicopters had been deployed to carry out the task.

He also claimed that the hill state suffered an estimated loss of Rs 4,000 crore.

A total of 873 roads are still blocked for vehicular traffic and 1,956 transformers and 1,369 water supply schemes are disrupted in the state as per the state emergency response centre.

As many as 80 people have died in rain-related incidents and road accidents since the onset of the monsoon on June 24.

According to officials, bus services are still suspended on 1,193 Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) routes and 316 buses are held en route.

Light to heavy rains lashed few parts of the state on Wednesday with Dhaula Kuan recording 144.5 mm rainfall, Renuka 87 mm, Reckongpeo 42 mm, Kotkhai 30 mm, Hamirpur 16.5, Shimla 13.5, Dharamshala 13 mm and Kalpa 10 mm rainfall.

The local MeT office has issued a 'yellow' warning of heavy rain, thunderstorm and lightning on July 15 and 16 in the state.

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