Mangan, 20 Jun:
Around 400 tourists stranded at Lachen since 17 June when sections of the road leading out were washed away by torrential rain were evacuated today, their transshipment arranged at Pincho Khola near Bonsai. Six SNT buses and several other vehicles were pressed into service to ferry the tourists from Chungthang to Gangtok. Their ferrying to Chungthang was helped by army and private vehicles in the area.
At the spot today to oversee the evacuation were Lachen-Mangan MLA, Samdup Lepcha, DIG Range, Sonam Tenzing Bhutia, DC North, Raj Yadav, Sr SP North, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia, Army and ITBP personnel and the locals.
Road connectivity up to Bonsai Bridge below Chatten is clear only for small vehicles at present and has to pass through Army Ammunition Point at Munsithang as the bridge at Munsithang has been washed away.
Road connectivity beyond Bonsai Bridge is still blocked at several points due to heavy landslides on 17 June.
GREF and Army have begun clearing the road beyond Bonsai Bridge up to Chatten while a Log Bridge has been put together to span Pincho Khola ahead of Bonsai Bridge by the Sub Division Police, Chungthang, Sub Division Administration officer and local people of Lachen for transshipment.
The arrangement for the transshipment of tourists was made in coordination with the District Administration.
All travel agents whose tourists were stranded at Lachen were informed to send vehicles from Gangtok to ferry tourists from Bonsai Bridge.
Mobile connectivity and electricity have also been affected in Lachen and the service providers had begun repairs.
Ashweta Sinha, a tourist from Mumbai among the 400 stranded in Lachen, expressed gratitude towards the army, ITBP, district administration and local people for their prompt action in providing relief and assistance.
“I thought it would take us more than fifteen days for us to reach Gangtok, but their efforts made it possible for us to get out within three days,” she shared.
The restoration of the bridge at Munisthang which is 4km from Chungthang towards Lachen will take at least 12 more days. The road at Pincho Khola is expected to open in the next three days.