North Sikkim tourists

Gangtok, March 18: North East Sikkim is closed to tourists as the roads are damaged by heavy snowfall. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) provided food and shelter to 175 tourists stranded in Sikkim following heavy snowfall and helped in their evacuation, officials said on Saturday.

Tourists visiting Sikkim due to attractions like Nathu La Pass, Harbhajan Baba Mandir, Zuluk, Gurudongmar Lake, and Valley of Flowers were stranded after the state received unprecedented heavy rains, snow and hail storms between 15 to 17 March.

Many visitors were struck on the road without food and warm clothes as they planned to return to their hotels in Gangtok by night.

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“The tourists visiting these attractions got stuck at these places as the roads were covered with snow and sleet, making the move of cars and taxis very slippery and risky on these roads. Tourists, who went with the intention of coming back to their hotels at Gangtok by night, did not have any extra warm clothes for such cold weather. All tourists were stranded due to lack of warm clothing, food, and a place to stay for the night,” Public Relations Officer (PRO), Defence Guwahati Lt Col Mahendra Rawat said.

The Karamyogis of BRO Project Swastik helped the stranded tourists, including women and children, provided them with shelter and food in their camp, and cleared the roads. The BRO also ensured the roads were operational within a short time of 6-8 hours.