Chief Minister, Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu conducted an aerial survey of Sissu, Chandertal and Losar in the tribal Lahaul-Spiti district and Manali region of Kullu district to take stock of the destruction caused by the relentless rains. The Chief Minister landed at Sissu and Manali to interact with the people rescued. He also visited Bahang, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) centre near Nehru Kund where rains had wreaked havoc and caused extensive damage to the property. He promised all out support from the government and to evacuate the stranded at the earliest from this valley.
The 52 school children of one of the school of Kullu, who were stuck up at Sissu in Lahaul were safely moved out and have left for Manali at 3 PM and have reached Manali safely as per the reports. Apart from this, about 25000 people had been safely evacuated from Manali and Kullu who were stuck up from the last three days at various locations, said the Chief Minister. As per reports 6552 vehicles have crossed Kullu towards Chandigarh till 4 PM and as many as 3000 people have been evacuated from the Kasol and its suburbs by the district administration today itself. He said that the Kasol-Bhuntar road was still blocked due to heavy landslide near Dhunkhra and district administration is relentlessly working round the clock to clear the debris. However, the stranded people are being trans-shipped from Dhunkhra towards Bhuntar in special vehicles deployed for the purpose. He said that a team of district administration has reached Kasol to oversee the rescue operations. The Jibhi-Banjar-Aut road is open for vehicles to move towards Chandigarh. The district administration has been directed to clear the Kasol, Tirthan and Sainj roads for the early evacuation of the tourists and locals and it is expected that these roads would be cleared within a day or two. He said that more than 100 trekkers stuck up at different places including those in Kaafnu and Mulling area of Kinnaur district have also been evacuated safely.
The Atal Tunnel is through for vehicular traffic and more than 300 vehicles have passed through this tunnel towards Mandi till 4 PM today and the tourists can take this route to go towards Chandigarh. He said that arrangements have been made for the distribution of food packets to the people coming from Manali near Ramshila Chowk near Gammon bridge with the help of local NGOs. Besides, more than 6000 food packets had been distributed to the people in Manali, he said.
The Chief Minister directed the Revenue Minister, Jagat Singh Negi and Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sanjay Awasthy to reach out to the people stranded at Chandertal Lake to monitor the rescue operations. He said that though the situation was challenging in Chandertal due to heavy snowfall but the State Government was ensuring the safety of all the 293 people trapped there who were staying in the camps.
Sh. Sukhu said that the State Government was trying to reopen the roads severely damaged due to flash floods and landslides and the PWD and Border Road Organisation (BRO) was on job to repair and restore the traffic on these roads. He said that most of the tourists and locals stranded in Spiti valley have been evacuated and rest of the people will be rescued shortly.
“The State Government was making earnest efforts to provide all possible assistance to the stranded people and I am equally monitoring the situation”, said the Chief Minister. He also appealed to the people to cooperate with the administration to bring back the life back to normal.
MLA Bhuvneshwar Gaur, Deputy Commissioner Ashutosh Garg and other senior officers were also present on the occasion.