Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government and the Indian Air Force Thursday speeded up its operations to airlift tourists stranded for the past five days in Kinnaur district, which has been cut off following landslides, an official said here.
"Since 6.30 in the morning three choppers have been on job. So far 77 tourists were airlifted," an official told a news agency.
He said the weather is clear and the maximum number of people, both tourists and locals, would be airlifted from Sangla, Pooh, Kaza and Rekong Peo, the district headquarters.
The IAF has deployed two helicopters, while the state is using the chief minister`s official chopper.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has called a meeting of government officials Thursday in Mandi town, where he is touring for June 23 Mandi parliamentary by-poll, to take stock of situation that arose due to heavy devastation and destruction in Kinnaur.
Rescue efforts also picked up in rain-battered tribal Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh with two IAF and one state chopper making sorties to rescue 600 tourists and others stranded in remote areas.
The sorties started at 6.30 AM in the morning and people stranded at various places for past five days are being dropped at Rampur, official sources said.
In all, 278 people were evacuated till yesterday evening and about 600 tourists and other people were still stranded at various places.
In Uttar Pradesh, the water levels in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Sharda, Ghaghra, Rapti and Kuanon continued to rise at several places.
The Mavi Satpudha Dam breached on the left bank of the Yamuna river in Shamli district yesterday and efforts were on to plug it with the help of locals, officials said.
Some areas in Saharanpur city were still submerged, while rail traffic on the Saharanpur-Ambala route was disrupted due to waterlogging.
In Bijnore, the water level of the tributaries of the Ganga was rising.
Relief and rescue operations continued on a war footing and people were being shifted to safer places in Lakhimpur Kheri, Bahraich and Farrukhabad districts, officials said.
However, the weather remained dry in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh with no report of fresh rainfall in the region.
The flow of water through Hathni Kund barrage over Yamuna river near Yamunanagar in Haryana has also decreased as against the unprecedented 8.06 lakh cusecs water discharge over the weekend.
Revenue department officials of Haryana are conducting a survey to ascertain the damage caused to crops due to heavy rains last week in districts of Yamunanagar, Karnal and Panipat recently.