With the death of a tourist at Chandratal lake in tribal Lahaul Spiti district to an accident at Sangla valley in Kinnaur district, a common link, ignoring small warning signs by government officials, comes to fore that might have avoided these tragedies.
The assistant public relations officer Kaza in Lahaul Spiti, Ajay Banyal said the tourists mostly ignore warning signs of the government and venture out at places that are not safe in the monsoon season. “One youth identified as Rahul Thakur from Kullu district got drowned as ignored 50-60 signboards that had been placed at scenic Chandertal Lake in tribal district to not swim in it as the glacier fed lake had below freezing temperature.
Besides, the lake is of religious importance to the tribal people and it was considered inauspicious to swim in the lake,” he added Banyal said he had also warned Dr Deepa Sharma from Rajasthan who was killed in a tragic accident at Batseri in Sangla valley which claimed 9 lives, about not venturing into rivers or high hills in the ongoing monsoon season as it was not safe.
“I had warned her after she posted a picture of herself in a small rivulet in Kinnaur district on social media platform Twitter,” he said.
As per special secretary revenue and State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) director Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, 187 persons had died in the state in monsoon related accidents since the onset in June while four persons were still missing.
The state had suffered a loss of over Rs 401 crore in the ongoing monsoon and the state meteorological department had issued red and orange alerts for middle hill areas for the next two days. Mokhta advised tourists not to venture out near rivers and rivulets and landslide prone areas.
“A central geologists team will study the conditions of Bateseri and the entire Kinnaur district as a pilot project to assess the phenomena of shooting stones and will suggest corrective measures to stop it. The state government may install early warning systems in these areas of the tribal district and safely relocate local population from landslide prone areas,” he added.
Himachal Pradesh Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said around 100-120 tourists were stuck in Sangla valley after a roadblock that was caused by rockslides due to landslides in which 9 tourists were killed on Sunday afternoon and efforts were being made to transport them to safe locations.
“Keeping in mind the geographical conditions, the state government is making efforts to speed up rescue operations and arrangements are being made to transport the bodies of nine victims to their native places,” he added.