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Heavy snowfall in HP blocks roads, hundreds of tourists stranded, rescue operation underway

The roads were covered with slush and snow coupled with rains that made driving dangerous.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: December 13, 2014 10:10 pm


While local residents of Himachal welcomed the seasons’s first snowfall, it turned out to be a disappointment for hundreds of tourists who were stranded on the Manali-Rohtang pass road on December 13. The roads witnessed a disrupted vehicular traffic following the heavy snowfall.

Around 150 vehicles were stranded. However, all tourists caught at Rohtang Pass were rescued and brought to Manali.

The unexpected situation had put the local administration on high alert who had already started off with the rescue operation of the stranded tourists to bring them back to Manali at the earliest.

“We have reports about 150 vehicles that are still stranded on the road because of heavy snow, skidding of heavy vehicles, traffic jam and breakdowns .This has caused adverse impact on the mobility. There is no vehicle at Rohtang Pass. At Marhi,we have been told about six stranded vehicles,” says Vinay Singh, additional District Magistrate, Kullu had earlier said.

Singh said that while the snow at Gulaba is at least a feet deep, the situations at Rohtang Pass and Marhi are worse.

The medical teams were deployed to the affected areas already. Medical help was also being provided at the Gulaba rescue post.

The administration had also sought help from the Border Roads Organisations and engineering firms engaged in the construction of Rohtang tunnel in order to bring the tourists to safer places.

Singh claims that the tourists were already provided with a warning against visiting Rohtang Pass and Marhi on account of the possibility of heavy snowfall, but they seem to have taken the trip nevertheless to enjoy the season’s first snowfall. Few had also started from Koksar (Lahaul-Spiti side) to cross Rohtang Pass in the day, he says.

The roads were covered with slush and snow coupled with rains that made driving dangerous.

According to one Piyush Mahajan, who was at Manali with a group of friends, the number of stranded tourists can be as high as 400.

“It was perhaps God’s grace that we started late and did not take the risk. Gulaba was the last point we touched after which we were warned about the heavy snowfall,” says Piyush.

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  1. S
    Dec 14, 2014 at 6:35 am
    My sister and her colleagues were at Rohtang P when the snowfall started and the situation started getting worse. They called the police and asked for help and were told by the police that 200 vehicle are on the way to rescue the sted tourists. As the situation was continuously deteriorating, instead of waiting for the rescue teams, they kept walking towards Gulba followed by Kothi. They started at 1PM and reached Kothi around 9:30PM covering almost 30 KMs.Post reaching Kothi (after being completely tired and bruised), they spoke to several policemen and requested for a vehicle that can take them to their hotel. The policemen asked them to keep walking towards the hotel which was still 20 KMs away. However the only thing human was that they were offered hot teapletely exhausted with no more energy left these guys had to stop a om car and request the driver to drop them to the hotel (near Hidimba temple). The driver first resisted but then asked for Rs 7000 to drop them 3 KMs away from their hotel.Finally they reached the hotel all by themselves after walking another 3Kms from where the driver left them.No help provided by the police or the authorities. Shame.
    1. A
      Dec 13, 2014 at 11:29 pm
      A w FEET deep snow.....tooooo much
      1. U
        Umesh Angural
        Dec 14, 2014 at 3:09 pm
        What non sense, you media men leave no stone unturned for hot news, when it comes to fair reporting you publish reports like this.shame on you. No of tourists sted is not less than 4000 and more than 500 vehicles have been sted. So far rescue operation is concerned, district admn must have earned lacs from its goons who charged poor tourists anything between 18000 to 10000 per person for a journey of 15 kms, me nd my wife along with another couple walked 30 kms on snow covered road nd then paid 10000 for 15 kms journey. Also you did not report any casuality however two vehicles fell into george as per my information.Shame on you. Cheap media.