Shimla: Five days after stranding on rain-affected roads and highways, about 10,000 tourists who are stuck up in Kasol and Kheerganga areas of Kullu are reluctant to move out without their vehicles.
In a media briefing about the flood-hit state, chief minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the government had urged them to provide them with a police slip about safe parking of vehicles, and they could take their vehicles when roads are cleared later.
The chief minister said that despite assurances, ten thousand tourists decided to stay back in the rain-affected area until the restoration of the road, which could take a fortnight to months.
CM also said that 150 tourists were struck at Recong-peo after a cloudburst on Thursday. He said a rescue operation is going on in Chandratal, and the first convoy of stranded people is coming towards Losar.
He said 250 people belonging to Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Pune are stranded at Chandertal Lake for the last five days.
An attempt has been made to rescue tourists in helicopters, but the Indian Air Force did not allow the pilot to land the helicopter at an unsafe place on Chandertal, and two ministers are now looking after the rescue operation to remove the stranded people.
He said that it is risky to drive on the slippery road at minus four degrees Celsius on Chandertal, therefore the evacuation operation is taking time. He said vehicle takes one hour to drive on a four-kilometre road.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that all foreigners who are stranded in Kasol should be evacuated from Kullu with the help of the respective embassy.
He said that the embassy of Israel has sought permission for evacuation, which is granted by the people.
“Embassy Chopper will be able to rescue foreign tourists stranded in many areas of Kullu,” the chief minister added.
Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said those who are stranded along with vehicles are being given assurance to take their vehicles, which would be kept in police custody, and a receipt to be handed over to the owner of the vehicle if they want to go home immediately.
The government has to restore the rain-affected roads, but it would take time, and it would be better if tourists returned to their homes. The government would not press anyone to go home, but until the rescue operation was complete, it would provide them with every possible assistance.
He said power, water, internet, and phone services affected by heavy rainfall have been restored, and JCBs and heavy machinery are deployed to clear the blocked roads.