As many as 1,500 stranded tourists were rescued by the Indian Army after heavy snowfall blocked the Jawaharlal Nehru road in Sikkim. The Army carried out the rescue operation on December 27 despite poor visibility and inclement weather.
The stranded tourists were provided relief -- including, food, shelter, warm clothing and medicines, to ensure their safety from weather and high altitude.
East Sikkim: More than 1500 tourists who were stranded due to heavy snowfall near Nathu La, rescued by Army personnel pic.twitter.com/Kh0b2TJ9z6— ANI (@ANI) December 28, 2019
"These tourists, travelling in nearly 300 taxis, were returning from Nathu La Pass - Tsomgo Lake on Friday evening and got stranded midway at various points along Jawaharlal Nehru road as the motorable stretch was blocked by snow," read an official statement by Indian Army.
Over 570 stranded tourists including women, children and elderly persons were accommodated at Army Camp at 17th Mile. The Army provided JCB and Dozers to clear the snow and restore road connectivity at the earliest. The evacuation process is still on and will continue till all stranded tourists are safely evacuated to the state capital Gangtok.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Gangtok is likely to receive cloudy sky and rain in the next week. Dense fog is very likely in isolated pockets over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland," IMD said in its All India Weather Warning Bulletin.
About 350 tourists and locals, stranded at the Zojila pass due to heavy snowfall, have been rescued by army personnel, officials said on November 22. Visitors to the area got stuck as regions around the pass like Sonamarg, Baltal and Nilgrar received heavy snowfall since Thursday which also led to traffic jams at many places, the officials said.
"About 300-350 people, including women and children, were stranded at heights above 11,000 feet where the temperature hovers around minus 7 degrees. A number of trucks and other vehicles got stuck in traffic jams. In coordination with the civil administration, army rescue columns moved in vehicles promptly to rescue the stranded civilians from the Zojila Pass," a senior army official said.
The army personnel also provided medical assistance, hot food, and blankets to the affected people. The police and GREF (General Reserve Engineer Force) took up the task of clearing the traffic and snow respectively, they said.
(With agency inputs)