As many as 1575 Pilgrims who are undertaking the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra are stranded in Nepal due to heavy rain and bad weather. About 525 pilgrims are stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa and another 500 more in Tibet side, according to the latest information available with the Indian Embassy in Nepal.
As the weather remains inclement, the government said there was very little chance of operating evacuation flights.
Meanwhile External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that the Government of Nepal has been requested for army helicopters to evacuate stranded Indian nationals. She said that Indian Embassy in Nepal has deployed representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot. They are touch with the pilgrims and ensuring that food and lodging facilities are available to all the pilgrims, she added.
The Embassy has taken following actions till now –
1. It has placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot, who are personally in touch with each and every stranded pilgrim. The representatives are ensuring that proper food and lodging facilities are available to all the pilgrims.
2. The Embassy representative in Simikot has pressed in service of available medical practitioner in Simikot to get a health check-up done for all elderly pilgrims. In case of any medical complication, they are being given preventive medication and medical counseling of dos and don’ts.
3. The Embassy representative in Simikot is also in touch with police authorities at police check post in Hilsa. The police authorities have been requested to take care of all the pilgrims and ensure best possible assistance to them.
4. The Embassy has asked all tour operators to try and hold pilgrims back in Tibet side as far as possible since the medical and civic facilities on Nepal side are inadequate. They have further been told to accord first priority in clearing up situation in Hilsa, which is the most infrastructure lean place in the area.
5. The Embassy is looking at various alternatives for evacuating stranded pilgrims from Simikot, including searching for alternative routes (Simikot-Surkhet/Simikot-Jumla/Simikot-Mugu). All these routes, however, appear to be as difficult as Simikot-Nepalganj. The Embassy is also trying to press in services of Nepal Army helicopters for evacuation.
6. The Embassy has already set up a Hot line for pilgrims and their family members. This would also comprise language speaking staff viz. Tamil/Telugu/Kannada/Malayalam. The following Embassy officials can be reached 24X7 at the following numbers for any assistance/information:
1. PRANAV GANESH, FIRST SECRETARY (CONSULAR) – +977-9851107006
2. TASHI KHAMPA, SECOND SECRETARY (CONSULAR) – +977-9851155007
3. TARUN RAHEJA, ATTACHE (CONSULAR) – +977-9851107021
4. RAJESH JHA, ASO (COMMUNITY WELFARE) – +977-9818832398, +977-9851165140
5. YOGANANDA (HOTLINE – KANNADA) – +977-9823672371
6. PINDI NARESH (HOTLINE – TELUGU) – +977-9808082292
7. R MURUGAN (HOTLINE – TAMIL) – +977-9808500642
8. C RANJITH (HOTLINE – MALAYALAM) – +977-9808500644