KATHMANDU: Around 500 Indian pilgrims enroute to Kailash Mansarovar were stranded in Nepal’s mountainous region of Hilsa and Simikot due to inclement weather which has also hampered the operation to evacuate them, officials said today.
The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu was in touch with Nepal’s Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Chief of Army Staff, Director General of Military Operations and police officials for rescuing the stranded Indians, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. The stranded pilgrims are part of tour organised by private travel operators.
Around 50 pilgrims were evacuated from Hilsa to Simikot and around 100 from Simikot to Nepalganj, he said, adding only a limited number of helicopter sorties could be carried out for their evacuation.
“According to Nepal Police, there are currently around 250 pilgrims in Hilsa and a similar number in Simikot. Today evacuation operations have started, but are being hampered by inclement weather,” he said. Swarup said Nepalese authorities have assured all possible assistance subject to the weather conditions.
“While there is no shortage of essential items, situation can normalise only when regular air services can be undertaken in an uninterrupted manner every day,” he said.
The Indian Mission in Kathmandu is deploying First Secretary (Consular) Pranav Ganesh and a staff member to Simikot to take stock of the situation and coordinate with tour operators and Nepalese government agencies on the ground.
Hundreds of Indian pilgrims undertake Kailash Mansarovar yatra in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China negotiating the mountainous terrain.