TN pilgrims stuck in Kailash Yatra, again

By NT Bureau Published on Aug 06, 2018 02:56 PM IST

Chennai: About 25 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims from Tamilnadu are stranded in Simikot, the administrative headquarters of Humla district of Nepal due to inclement weather.

A group of pilgrims from Namakkal, Tirupur and Coimbatore in Tamilnadu had gone on the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage to Nepal. A report said, one of the Tamilnadu pilgrims who got in touch with them said that they were without proper food, water and shelter for the last one week.

The report quoted one of the stranded Tamilnadu pilgrims, S Gunasekaran as saying, "We started the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage on 23 July.  After completing the darshan, we returned to Simikot, from where we have to take an aircraft to Nepalgunj. But flight services have been suspended due to bad weather and fog."

He had also said that though the tour operators, Touch Kailash Tours and Travels arranged food and water, they were not enough.

"We don't have proper shelter too. The situation could be handled only by the military," he added.

Gunasekaran who is the founder of Vidyaa Vikas Educational Institutions in Tiruchengode had reportedly called up Tamilnadu electricity minister P Thangamani and informed him about their plight.

The pilgrim further said only Army helicopters will be able to rescue them. Reports have emerged that Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also assured immediate action.

In July, a similar situation prevailed over 1,500 pilgrims including many Tamils were stranded in the area due to bad weather. They were airlifted to safety on the initiative of Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. Nepal is a popular destination for Indian pilgrims to visit Mansarovar due to the distance and comfort factors involved.

Indian Embassy responds

The representatives of Indian Embassy in Simikot, Hilsa and Nepalganj were on alert and monitoring the situation, the statement said, adding that the embassy will ensure timely evacuation of stranded pilgrims in case of an emergency.

"Around 200 Indians on their way back home after the Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage in Tibet are stuck in Nepal's Humla district due to bad weather. We are in continuous touch with them and their family members," the Indian Embassy said.

There were around 150 people stranded in Simikot and 50 in Hilsa, near Nepal-Tibet border. Due to bad weather, it was impossible to immediately airlift the pilgrims from Hilsa and Simikot to Nepalgunj, a border city which is about a four-hour drive from Lucknow, it said.

"The Embassy representatives are taking all necessary action for the pilgrims well being," it said, adding that the situation is under control and all stranded pilgrims would be evacuated as soon as the weather clears up.