About 50 IIT-Roorkee students stranded in Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh after heavy snowfall were rescued by Indian Air Force helicopters, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said Tuesday.
The entire trekking team was evacuated to the Army's base camp at Sisu, officials said.
About 500 people, including some foreigners, are reported to be still stranded at Koksar and Baralacha areas.
Officials said all of them are safe and the three IAF helicopters will used in rescuing them.
Thakur said the Centre has assured all possible help and if required more helicopters will be sent for rescuing stranded people.
Nearly forty-five persons, including 35 students of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee in Uttrakhand, have gone missing in snow clad areas of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.
Snowfall in this area has continued for the last three days. Contact with these students had not been established. The group of students from the IIT had gone for a trek to the Hampta pass in Lahaul and Spiti. They were scheduled to return to Manali. But, so far they haven't returned.
The local administration is pulling out all stops to ensure the safety of these persons. But the first task is to locate these missing students and establish contact with them. Internet and phone lines have all been snapped in this region owing to inclement weather and heavy snowfall.
Tourist hotspot Rohtang Pass, which is about 35-km steep hill drive from Manali, had received nearly 2 ft of snowfall on Monday. At least, 10 persons have died in the last three days in northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab because of incessant weather. All major rivers, including the Beas and the Ravi are in spate.
The Mandi-Manali highway has been shut down and over 300 roads have been broken in Himachal Pradesh. Nearly 29000 cusses of water will be released from the Pong dam in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday which is expected to further inflate the raging waters of the Beas river. All adventurous sporting activities including paragliding, have been banned in Kullu district, the government has said.