Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu dedicated three days to monitoring and overseeing a total of 60 hours of rescue operations and providing necessary guidance for the rehabilitation of affected individuals and restoration of roads and communication networks in the worst affected flood-hit areas of Kullu-Manali, and Lahaul Spiti districts applauded the concerted efforts of local authorities and all relevant stakeholders.
While talking to the media in Kullu and Mandi today, the Chief Minister specifically acknowledged the promptness and efficiency demonstrated in the rescue and restoration endeavors, highlighting the temporary reinstatement of electricity, water, and mobile network services within 48 hours by officials.
Moreover, Chief Minister Sukhu proudly stated that 60,000 tourists out of the 70,000 local residents had been successfully evacuated from Kullu and Lahaul Spiti districts. He attributed this accomplishment to the dedication and commitment of the 1,000 officials deployed in the affected areas of Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts.
The Chief Minister informed the media that ongoing efforts were underway to evacuate the remaining 10,000 individuals who are currently putting up at Kasol and Tirthan Valley and were reluctant to leave their vehicles. To alleviate their concerns, Sh. Sukhu assured them that their vehicles would be safeguarded. He further stated that an officer upto the rank of ASP has been deputed in Kasol to persuade these tourists to move out with the assistance of the district administration safely towards their destinations. An arrangement has been made wherein the local administration will be issuing an official receipt, guaranteeing the retrieval of their vehicles once the connecting roads are fully restored, by showing the same.
In response to queries from the media, Sh. Sukhu disclosed that the Israeli embassy has also reached out to the State government, expressing their willingness to evacuate their nationals from the affected areas of Kasol and Tirthan through their own special sorties for which the State Government has no such objection. He said that all the foreign tourists are safe and essential commodities were being ensured to them.
Updating on rescue operations at Chandertal, the Chief Minister while speaking to the media in Mandi, said that the rescue convoy has reached Chandertal in Lahaul-Spiti district today early morning in sub-zero temperatures to evacuate more than 250 tourists and the rescue operations were still underway. The tourists were being taken towards Kaza in four batches, braving the chill of Kunzum pass (4551 meters). The rescue operation at Chandertal has been closed as about 250 tourists have been evacuated from the site in 57 vehicles and they were being brought to Kaza in four batches. He also lauded the efforts of Horticulture Minister, Jagat Singh Negi who led the rescue teams along with Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sanjay Awasthi, besides the Kaza administration and the PWD authorities who despite the challenging topography of mountains happened to reach the stranded at Chandertal with three JCBs at 2 AM today. It was not possible to land the air force choppers at Chandertal said the Chief Minister due to the unavailability of safe landing sites as a result of which, Jagat Singh Negi and Sanjay Awasthy braved against these challenges and voluntarily decided to lead the operation with the help of local administration.
Later Chief Minster also visited the Army Relief Camp at Choling in Sub Tehsil Tapri and enquired about the well-being of the rescued people from Sangla. He said that 118 individuals have been rescued through six sorties from Sangla to Choling (Karcham) and they will be further transshipped towards Shimla and Chandigarh, marking the completion of the rescue operation at Sangla. The Chief Minister specially acknowledged the contribution of the Indian Army and local administration which rescued people from different parts of the State.