KATHMANDU: Over 1500 Indian pilgrims, undertaking Kailash Mansarovar yatra, have been stranded in Nepal after heavy downpour triggered floods in several parts of the country. The Ministry of External Affairs has assured that all possible medical and lodging facilities will be provided to the stranded Indians.
"Indian pilgrims stranded in Nepal - There are about 525 pilgrims stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa and another 500 in Tibet side. Indian Embassy in Nepal has deployed representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot. They are (in) touch with the pilgrims and ensuring that food and lodging facilities are available to all the pilgrims. In Simikot a health check up has been done on all the elderly pilgrims. They are being provided required medical help. In Hilsa we have requested police authorities for necessary assistance," Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
"We have requested Government of Nepal for army helicopters to evacuate stranded Indian nationals. We have set up hotlines for pilgrims and their family members who will provide information in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages," she added.
As many as 11 people have lost their lives and thousands of houses have been submerged in the water in plain lands. Eight districts have been affected due to the incessant rainfall on Sunday and Monday and three people lost their lives in Rolpa and Banke districts on Monday. The rainfall has also flooded most of the Province number 2, with Birgunj and Janakpur cities among the most affected.
The flood has also displaced hundreds of villagers residing near rivers and other water sources in the low lying plains of Nepal.
The Indian Embassy in Nepal has said that the tour operators have been told to accord first priority in clearing up the situation in Hilsa which is the most infrastructure lean place in the area. The mission is also trying to press in services of Nepal Army choppers, which have superior abilities to operate in difficult terrain.
With around 290 pilgrims from Karnataka stranded in Nepal, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has directed the Resident Commissioner of Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi to take all necessary action immediately to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.
Indian Embassy in Nepal's hotline number for pilgrims and their family members:
1. Pranav Ganesh, First Secretary (Consular) - +977-9851107006
2. Tashi Khampa, Second Secretary (Consular) - +977-9851155007
3. Tarun Raheja, Attache (Consular) - +977-9851107021
4. Rajesh Jha, Aso (Community Welfare) - +977-9818832398, +977-9851165140
Hotline to Contact Language Speaking Staff:
5. Yogananda (Hotline – Kannada) - +977-9823672371
6. Pindi Naresh (Hotline – Telugu) - +977-9808082292
7. R Murugan (Hotline – Tamil) - +977-9808500642
8. C Ranjith (Hotline – Malayalam) - +977-9808500644