Gangtok: Up to 427 tourists were evacuated from Lachen in North Sikkim on Thursday, four days after they got stuck in the area following a cloudburst that damaged several roads in the district.
Under the guidance of district magistrate (north) Raj Yadav, the tourists were evacuated from Lachen to state capital Gangtok via vehicles arranged for them. Refreshments were provided by state minister Samdup Lepcha, who is the MLA of Lachen-Mangan, followed by lunch provided by a gurudwara and the Indian Army.
MLA Lepcha lauded the officials of general reserve engineer force (GREF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Army, Travel Agent Association of Sikkim (TAAS), North Sikkim district administration and the local public, among other organisations involved in evacuating the stranded tourists.
The minister said that he had been visiting the spot continuously from the day of the cloudburst and overseeing rescue operations. Along with other officials, Lepcha visited Mantam lake in Dzongu to take stock of the situation.
Lepcha added that the government and the authorities are keeping track of the villages in Dzongu that have been cut off. “We came to know that the ration is sufficient as of now. If they require more food or any sort of help then we are ready and would be at their service either on foot or helicopter,” he added.
Lepcha also urged the people of North Sikkim district, especially Dzongu, not to panic as the government is standing strong as their backbone and is on high alert for their help and service.
The rescued tourists expressed gratitude to the state government, local public and Army officials for their support and care since the incident. “Sikkimese people are really warm and helpful. We will visit again, but during the dry season,” said a rescued tourist from Gujarat.
According to a source, a footpath has been constructed to walk over at Chaten and Bonsoi after clearing debris in two days with collective efforts from the district administration, Army, GREF and local people. Eventually, they succeeded and tourists have started crossing the blocked stretch at Chaten and Bonsoi since 11 am on June 20.
On successful accomplishment of the mission, DM Raj Yadav thanked the Chungthang team and police officials who took part in the rescue mission and the locals of Lachen for their kind support.