Heavy Snowfall in Sikkim: The Indian Army rescued over 1,000 tourists stranded in the upper reaches of East Sikkim at Chhangu after a heavy snowfall, officials said on Friday. Rescued tourists included the elderly, women, and children. Previously, on March 12, the Indian Army, in collaboration with civil police and administration, rescued 370 tourists stranded in East Sikkim due to heavy snowfall, according to an official release.
Tourists visiting Sikkim for attractions such as Nathu La Pass, Harbhajan Baba Mandir, Zuluk, Gurudongmar Lake, and Valley of Flowers were stranded after the state experienced unprecedented heavy rains, snow, and hail storms from March 15 to 17.
Troops of #TrishaktiCorps rescued & provided assistance to more than 1000 tourists including elderly, women & children stranded due to inclement weather in East #Sikkim on 15 Mar. Provided with shelter, warm clothing, medical aid & hot meals. @adgpi @easterncomd pic.twitter.com/K20K5Tu8gn
— Trishakticorps_IA (@trishakticorps) March 16, 2023
According to the statement, the tourists were relocated to safe areas and given shelter, warm clothing, medical assistance, and hot meals. The statement went on to say that detailed coordination had been done with the General Reserve Engineering Force (GREF) for the road opening in the morning.
The road opening work was started on March 12 with the assistance of GREF dozers. By 9 am, the road was cleared to enable the movement of vehicles to Gangtok, it said.
It said that stranded tourists and the Sikkim civil administration expressed gratitude to the Army for providing timely relief. The Army is always proactive in providing assistance to tourists and the local population while guarding the border in Super High-Altitude areas of the Himalayas, according to the statement.
Tourists who went with the intention of returning to their Gangtok hotels at night were unprepared for such cold weather. “All tourists were stranded due to a lack of warm clothing, food, and a place to stay for the night,” said Lt Col Mahendra Rawat, Public Relations Officer (PRO), Defence Guwahati.
BRO Project Swastik Karamyogis assisted stranded tourists, including women and children, by providing shelter and food in their camp and clearing the roads. The BRO also ensured that the roads were operational within 6-8 hours.