HYDERABAD: As many as 65 pilgrims, who were stranded in Nepal, arrived in the city in two batches on Sunday evening. Of them 19 persons are from Andhra Pradesh and the rest from Telangana. They were evacuated from Kathmandu by a special Indian Air Force rescue aircraft on Saturday night.
The pilgrims had gone to Nepal to visit the Mukhtinath shrine. Gowrishankar, proprietor of Sai Baba Travels in Malkajgiri and their guide, told Express that after the earthquake, they had no hopes of returning until they reached the Kathmandu airport and saw the IAF operations. “I was in the washroom when the tremors shook the place. We all rushed outside and stayed put there. Later, we went inside the hotel and left the place without our luggage. Since we had our own cook, food and supplies, it was not a problem to survive in the open,” he recalled. According to him, though the hotel they were staying at was only about 3 km from the airport, they had no clue as to how to return. “The airport was shut at first. When they opened it, we just rushed to the place. There was absolute chaos at the airport. With our group of mostly elderly people, we somehow managed to board the Air Force flight,” he explained.
“Shockingly, my phone bill for Saturday alone came up to Rs 10,000! But I was responsible for all my pilgrims and their relatives were calling on my phone. Incoming was Rs 30 and outgoing Rs 50! By God’s grace, we are all back here safe,” he said, heaving a sigh of relief and putting a question mark over the telecom companies.
Gowrishankar has visited the Himalayan nation at least 25 times taking pilgrims from the city. His agency makes 10 to 15 trips to Nepal every year.
KTR Comes to Students’ Rescue
IT Minister K T Rama Rao instructed officials to utilise available air and train facilities to pick up 50 students from the state stuck in Nepal. The students of the Bharatpur Medical College, Nepal, are from Hyderabad, Karimnagar and Warangal districts. The minister assured that the government will extend help to those from the State stranded in Nepal. Arrangements were made by the college management to drop the students till the border. Rao spoke to representatives of Telangana government in Delhi about immediately bringing back the students. The minister said it was the government’s responsibility to help the students reach their homes and asked the students and their families not to panic. He instructed the officials to pass information about the students to their parents.
Naidu Continues to Monitor Rescue Ops
Hyderabad: For the second consecutive day on Sunday, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu held a video conference with the officials of the AP Bhavan in New Delhi, to take stock of the rescue operations to bring back Telugus from Nepal. Naidu directed Union minister of state for science and technology YS Chowdary and AP Special Representative in Delhi K Ramamohana Rao to ensure that Telugu people are put on flights immediately. Meanwhile, about 19 people belonging to West and East Godavari districts, who were stranded in Nepal, arrived at Shamshabad Airport on Sunday. They were received by AP IT minister P Raghunatha Reddy at the airport.
Two Control Rooms
Two control rooms one in New Delhi and another in Hyderabad have been functioning on behalf of the AP government to lend a helping hand to the Telugu people, who have been stranded in Nepal. Call 011-23782388 and 040-23456005 to reach out to the Control rooms in Delhi and Hyderabad respectively.
60 Medicos from AP Reach Gorakhpur
According to another statement issued by the state government, about 60 medical students from AP, who were stranded in Nepal, reached Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday evening. The state government officials made arrangements to bring those students safely to the State. “Officials are making efforts to attach a special coach to the Gorakhpur-Yesvantpur Express for these students,” the government said.