Army personnel rescued around 400 tourists stranded in Sikkim following heavy snowfall and later provided emergency assistance, including medical care and food, to them, defence officials said on Sunday.
Defence spokesman Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat said that around 400 tourists, including 142 women and 50 children travelling approximately in 100 vehicles got stranded on Saturday afternoon while returning from Natu La and Tsomgo (Changgu) Lake and soldiers of Trishakti Corps, in collaboration with police and civil administration, swung into action and launched rescue mission "Operation Himrahat".
"The relief and rescue operations continued through late on Saturday night. The tourists were moved to safe areas and provided shelter, warm clothing, medical aid and hot meals. The troops arranged accommodation for the stay of all the tourists," Lt. Col Rawat said.
He said that on Sunday morning, the road opening was taken up with assistance of the Army's General Reserve Engineering Force bulldozers and by 9 a.m, the road was cleared to enable movement of the vehicles to Gangtok.
The quick reaction by the troops provided relief and comfort to the stranded tourists under inclement weather conditions and ensured early clearance of road to enable movement of vehicles to Gangtok. The stranded tourists and civil administration expressed their deep gratitude for the immediate relief provided by the Army.
Indian Army, while guarding the border in super high-altitude areas of the Himalayas, are always proactive in providing assistance to tourists and local population, the defence spokesman said.
(With inputs from IANS)