Hyderabad: Twenty tourists from the two Telugu states are currently stranded in Gangtok, in Sikkim, after five landslides and torrential rains triggered by a cloudburst made it impossible for them to proceed.
A total of 350 tourists from different states, including an 88-year-old senior citizen from Ahmedabad, have been stuck for four days in north Sikkim.
Abhishek, son of an additional inspector general of police serving in AP, is among them.
Two of the tourists P. Sravan Raghu Nath, 32, and P. Pratyusha, 27, are from Hyderabad.
Many of those stranded are young mountain enthusiasts. There are also 10 children and some senior citizens.
The weather shows no sign of improving and the tourists have no electricity or internet connection. Two youths from Vizag travelled by bike to Sikkim. The collector, Raj Yadav, suspended tourist permits for the time being for Dzongu, Lachen and Lachung.
350 tourists had to walk around 12 km
Mountaineer Poshetty Sravan Kumar told this newspaper, “On June 16, around 350 tourists reached Lachen village at a height of 9,000 feet in the north of Sikkim. The following day, all left for Gurudongmar Lake. On our way back to Lachen village, a cloudburst occurred (when it rains 10 cm in an hour), resulting in non-stop torrential rains. This triggered five landslides between Lachen and Zema and blocked all routes. A vehicle carrying tourists was stuck midway, with no way out. The 350 of us walked 12 km, crossed the dangerous muddy narrow paths, rolled down hilly terrain to reach Lachen village.”
“The local villagers, army troops, local police stepped forward to help the tourists; the Lachen Hotel Association president provided free food and accommodation to all 350 tourists. On Wednesday, as the rains weakened, I travelled another 12 km to access the internet in order to inform all the worried families,” Sravan Kumar said.
The tourists submitted their personal details, including home phone numbers to the local police, who informed their families.
“Multiple stakeholders including the Army and Road parties have been roped in for the rescue operation. All 350 tourists are safe and there are zero casualties.
Mud clearing vehicles are clearing the road. The border road guarding teams have been instructed to provide free travel to tourists. The rescue operation will be completed by Thursday,” the collector said in a statement.
“The families back home need not worry as all are safe and waiting for the skies to clear to head for home,” said Vishal, one of those stranded....