The Indian Army on Thursday rescued nearly 1,500 stranded tourists in Nathu La Pass in East Sikkim after heavy snowfall blocked the Jawaharlal Nehru road.
Despite poor visibility and harsh weather, the Army personnel carried out the rescue operation. They ensured relief to the tourists and provided them with shelter, food, medicines, and warm clothing.
News agencies reported that as many as 1,500 to 1,700 tourists were travelling in 300 vehicles from Gangtok and they got stranded at various stretches of the Jawahar All Nehru Road between Nathu La and 13th Mile on Friday due to heavy snowing.
An official statement from the Army read, '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.'
The tourists that included children, women and elderly persons have been evacuated and 570 of them have been accommodated at the Army Camp at 17th Mile. The Army has deployed earthmovers, dozers and JCBs to remove the snow blockade and restore road connectivity at the earliest.
The process is still underway and will continue till all tourists are rescued safely and return to the state’s capital Gangtok. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), cloudy sky and rain is expected in Gangtok in the next week.
'Dense fog is likely in isolated pockets over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland,' IMD said in its All India Weather Warning Bulletin.