Over 400 stranded people sent back to their homes in Kargil

KARGIL: Over 400 people, who were left stranded here due to the imposition of lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 last month, were evacuated to their homes in the Union Territory of Ladakh, officials said on Sunday.

The stranded people belonging to different far flung villages of Suru Valley, Barsoo Nallah and Stakpa Umba in the Kargil district left for their homes in a fleet of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses and private vehicles on Sunday, the officials said.

They said the passengers were stranded in Kargil town due to the ongoing lockdown and declaration of Sankoo as a containment zone due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strict adherence to social distancing norms and wearing of masks was made mandatory for all passengers, drivers and helpers, the officials said.

The villagers had been demanding that they should be allowed to move towards their homes keeping in view the upcoming sowing season in these areas as well as the coming holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Executive Councilor for Zanskar Affairs Phunsog Tashi on Sunday demanded evacuation of nearly 1,200 residents of Zanskar who are stuck in Leh and Kargil towns since the imposition of the lockdown.

Tashi took up the issue of the evacuation of stranded people including students, patients and pilgrims with the Chairman and Chief Executive Councilor , LAHDC, Kargil Feroz Ahmad Khan and District Magistrate Kargil Baseer ul Haq Choudhary here, the officials said.

He said over 1,150 people belonging to Zanskar are presently stranded in Leh and around 30 others in Kargil due to the ongoing lockdown.

"Since agricultural season is in the offing in the whole Zanskar area and most of the people are from farming communities, they are bound to reach back home to start their activities," he said.

Both Khan and Choudhary assured him of favourable follow-up action in the matter and said they are presently working on a roadmap to evacuate all the stranded passengers in a phased and systematic manner, the officials said.

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PTI