300 stranded tourists & locals await evacuation as Chandertal road clearing progresses
Kaza/ Shimla, July 12
In a relief to the 300 tourists and locals stranded at Chandertal Lake, progress has been made in clearing the snow-covered road leading to the picturesque lake. The 12 km road up to Kunzum Pass has been successfully cleared, and efforts are now underway to make the stretch further 25 km till Chandertal accessible. NH 05 Shimla-Chandigarh Highway has reopened, providing relief to commuters. At Chakki Mod, the road is now accessible for all types of vehicles, enabling smooth movement in both directions.
Lara Tsering, a tourism professional from Kaza, reported that heavy snowfall had rendered the road impassable, with up to 3 feet of snow in some areas, posing challenges for rescue operations.
ADC Lahaul, Rahul Jain said that on the second day of the rescue operation, a six-member messenger team was sent from Kunzum Pass to Chandratal tent camp at 2.30 pm, which reached at 6.45 pm. The team included Gyalsan and Tenzin Namka from Pangmo village, Namgyal and Tshering from Hal village, Je Tshi Keshg and Keshang Paljor from Losar village.
The work of opening the road has been done till 10 pm on the second day, he stated. The work of opening the road has started from 5.30 am on the third day (Today) of the operation.
A police rescue party had managed to reach the affected area, airlifting those who were ill on Tuesday. However, due to logistical constraints, airlifting all 300 individuals was deemed unfeasible. Also due to heavy snowfall, it is difficult to rescue the stranded people even on foot. Consequently, plans are underway to evacuate the remaining individuals through the road once the snow clearance work is completed.
Tsering expressed optimism as the snowfall had ceased, and the weather conditions were gradually improving, creating a favorable environment for the upcoming rescue operation.
Thoe conducting the recue on ground are SDM Harsh Negi, Tehsildar Bhumika Jain, Naib Tehsildar Prem Chand, SHO Sanjay Kumar, TAC member Veer Bhagat, Losar Mahila Mandal are handling the food arrangements along with ITBP, BRO, local people from Chewang Lidang village, Gonpo Amit Mandala etc. from Kulig village are included.
Chandertal lake, known for its mesmerizing crescent shape surrounded by the majestic Himalayas, sits at an elevation of 14,100 feet. Typically accessible only during the summer, the lake remains frozen during winter months.
Meanwhile, authorities have successfully evacuated over 2,000 people stranded in the Kasol area of Kullu district. However, a major landslide has occurred at a point named Dunkhara, impacting the Kasol Bhuntar road. Round-the-clock efforts are underway, with the deployment of heavy machinery, including a poclain and two machines, to clear the blocked road. The district administration spokesperson confirmed the arrival of a team to oversee the evacuation process in Kasol.
According to the Disaster Management Authority’s last report on Tuesday evening, 23 individuals are dead, with 314 individuals stranded, and four are reported missing in areas such as Mandi, Kangra, and L&S. The calamitous weather conditions have led to the damaging of 12 houses, while 20 have suffered partial damage. Moreover, 21 roads and 4 bridges have been damaged across various locations, including Kinnaur, Brua Khad, Tehsil Sangla, Kullu, Akhara, Patli Kul Nagar, Solan, and Tikkari. Three vehicles and one hotel building have also incurred damages, and the loss of approximately 100-120 cattle has been reported. The region has experienced heavy rainfall, resulting in 7 instances of flash floods, 30 landslides, 2 fire incidents, and 15-20 cases of waterlogging.
The adverse weather conditions have caused significant disruptions, with NH-21 from Mandi to Kullu blocked, NH-505 from Gramphu to Losar impassable, and the SKTT road closed from Tandi to Kadhu Nalluh in Kullu. NH-03 from Kullu to Manali is also closed due to heavy rainfall and landslides, while NH-305 from Aut to Jalori Road in Kullu remains blocked due to a landslide. In Sirmaur, NH-707 near Shillai has been affected by a roadblock.
Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is personally monitoring the situation closely, ensuring necessary measures are taken to mitigate the impact of the adverse weather conditions and expedite rescue and relief operations.
Meanwhile the weather department has issued a orange alert for Shimla, Sirmour and Kinnauir districts. Also a yellow alert for Mandi, Kangra. For all other districts no alert has been issued.
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