Indian pilgrims stranded at Simikot, Hilsa

KATHMANDU: Indian pilgrims, who came for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage, have been stranded at Simikot and Hilsa in Nepal, as well as in Tibet.

According to a press release issued by the Embassy of India in Nepal, today, there are about 525 Indian pilgrims stranded in Simikot, 550 in Hilsa, and another 500 on Tibet side.

The Embassy of India in Kathmandu is continuously monitoring the situation along Nepalganj-Simikot-Hilsa route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (through Nepal), the statement reads. The weather remains inclement and chances of operating evacuation flights appears minimum.

The Embassy has placed its representatives in Nepalganj and Simikot, who are personally in touch with every stranded pilgrim, according to the statement. They are ensuring that proper food and lodging facilities are available to the pilgrims.

Available medical practitioner in Simikot is carrying out health check-up for all elderly pilgrims. In case of any medical complication, they are being given preventive medication and medical counselling.

Likewise, the Embassy representative in Simikot is also in touch with police authorities at police check post in Hilsa, who have been requested to ensure best possible assistance to the pilgrims.

The Embassy has also asked tour operators to try and hold back pilgrims in Tibet as long as possible due to inadequacy of medical and civic facilities in Nepal, as per the press release. They have further been told to accord first priority to clearing up situation in Hilsa, which is the lean in infrastructure compared to other areas.

The Embassy is presently looking at various alternatives for evacuating stranded pilgrims from Simikot, including searching for alternative routes (Simikot-Surkhet/Simikot-Jumla/Simikot-Mugu). All these routes, however, appear to be as difficult as Simikot-Nepalganj. The Embassy is also trying to press in services of Nepal Army helicopters for evacuation.

Similarly, the Embassy has already set up a hotline for pilgrims and their family members, which also comprises other language speaking staff for Tamil/Telugu/Kannada/Malayalam speakers.