The event was held in collaboration with Bal Mela Committee headed by R S Bali, who is also Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department.
Sixty-five-year-old, Himachal Pradesh Revenue Minister Jagat Singh Negi, braved all odds and led the rescue operation to Chandertal for 300 tourists stranded in Lahaul and Spiti.
Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu is all praise for the minister from his cabinet, who himself hails from the adjoining tribal district Kinnaur.
“Negi along with Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Sanjay Awasthi, were assigned the task of reaching upto the stranded tourists at Chandartal and accepting the task as a mission, the duo reached the Chandartal at 2 am in the morning after crossing the mighty Kunzum pass (4551 mts), braving the sub-zero temperature and nail-biting chill with the adequate men and machinery,” said the chief minister.
Despite hostile conditions and snow, Negi and 55-year-old Chief Parliamentary Secretary and MLA from Arki Sanjay Awasthi, after spending sleepless night, along with the rescue team reached their marked destination and informed chief minister via satellite phone.
They also interacted with all the stranded tourists and motivated them to brave the hostile weather and need not worry at all.
“The air force choppers could not land at Chandartal said the Chief Minister, as the pilots could not find a safer place to land. Negi took the entire responsibility to reach the stranded tourist along with the local administration and with the help of snow cutters managed to rescue them.
Both Negi and Awasthi left for Losar with the first batch of 60 people amidst four feet of snow from Chandartal early morning on Thursday.
Chief Minister Sukhu said that he had been keeping track of the situation and kept seeking information about the entire rescue mission to get each and every person out safely and to make this mission a success.
Sukhu stayed put at ground zero for about 60 hours sharing the pain and suffering of the affected and giving directions to the district administration.
The state government has successfully been able to evacuate more than 60,000 people in 60 hours safely to their destination.
Negi said that all the tourists have been safely evacuated and had reached Kaza and few were on the way.