Efforts to evacuate tourists trapped in Sangla valley fail

Shimla: Late monsoon rains have left a destruction trail behind in the high altitude tribal district of Kinnaur, in Kullu, Sirmaur and Shimla district with one person losing his life in the city here.

With the Kinnaur administration unable to evacuate tourists trapped in the otherwise scenic valley of Sangla and has issued an advisory to adventure tourist to stay put at safe place till road and weather conditions improve.

Administrative official of Sangla valley VD Negi reported a head count of 122 tourists who have been locked up in the valley since 18th September, when the link road to the land locked valley broke down because of a massive rock fall.

He said that among the tourists there were 19 foreigners, which include 11 Germans, 3 Brazilian ladies, 2 Israeli’s and 2 Dutch nationals. Of the 103 Indian tourists, most were Bengali’s, he added.

Landslides and erosion of agricultural lands had endangered over a dozen houses in villages of Sangla, Kamru, Sapri and Grua, said Negi.

Deputy commissioner Mamta Chaudhary said that efforts to evacuate the trapped tourists from Sangla by helicopter had to be abandoned as the sorties could not take off from Rampur because of bad weather.

She said families living in 3 endangered houses had been moved out and provided shelter elsewhere.

The lifeline highway in Kinnaur, National Highway – 22, was blocked at Pangi Nallah. A group of adventure tourists consisting of about 30 bikers and 20 cars, who were otherwise headed for Kaza in Spiti valley, have been issued an advisory to stay put at Kalpa-Reckong Peo till road conditions improve,” said Chaudhary.

The deputy commissioner reported much loss to private and public property, but no loss of life.

Data released by the meteorological department today showed that from June till date Kinnaur district had so far recorded a rainfall of 535.2 mm, against an average normal of 161 mm. which was 232 % higher than normal rains for the region.

Kullu valley had received 107 % rain above normal, followed by Shimla 36 % above normal and Sirmaur had reported 26% abover normal, met official Manmohan Singh disclosed.

While conditions were limping back to normalcy in other areas, one person in Shimla died after a tree uprooted and fell on him, killing him on the spot.

BM Nanta, deputy commissioner Kullu said, said that some houses in village had developed cracks after the adjoining agricultural lands was damaged in a landslide.

JS Rana, deputy commissioner said that the administration was putting all efforts to restore the roads. While most parts of the main roads has been opened up but landslides were still affecting vehicular movements on several rural link roads, he said.

With several landslides damaging the heritage Kalka-Shimla rail track, running of trains on the route have been suspended.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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