Shimla: Around 500 people were stranded in rain-ravaged Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday even as 77 people were evacuated from Sangla, Rekong Peo and Kaza while four more bodies were recovered from Pooh, raising the death toll to 14 in the state.
Chief Secretary S Roy, who took stock of the situation at a high level meeting said, two IAF choppers did not operate due to refueling problem as a result of which rescue operations in Kinnaur were hit.
He directed Indian Oil authorities and other agencies to ensure availability of aviation fuel and asked them to stock sufficient quantity of the fuel.
He said as many as 400-500 people were still stranded in different parts of Kinnaur while 77 people were airlifted today to Rampur, adding in all 278 people have been airlifted since Tuesday.
According to Roy, so far 14 deaths have been reported while more than 150 houses have been fully damaged and 55 partially damaged. As per preliminary reports, the loss of more than Rs 50 crore has been estimated in agriculture and horticulture sectors, he said.
A seven member polling team for Mandi Lok Sabha by-election was flown to Kaza by helicopter for polling to be held on June 23.
SP G Shiva Kumar, who is based in Rekong Peo, said road clearing operation speeded up as the weather remained clear throughout the day.
"But still it would take more than a week to reopen all major roads," he said.
The Hindustan-Tibet road leading to the China border along Kinnaur is blocked at several locations, said officials.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has convened a high-level meeting at Mandi to review the situation for speeding up the rescue operations.
A group of 26 pilgrims from Dharamsala on way to Kedarnath had a miraculous escape when the hotel in which they had taken shelter, 50 km short of Kedarnath was washed away. The pilgrims, trekked 25 km to reach August Muni and were stranded there for past three days without any food or other relief, Ashok Mahajan, husband of one of the pilgrims said.
They were evacuated by a state chopper.