A spell of bad weather accompanied by rains and poor visibility has kept the seventh batch of 57 Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims waiting here for the last six days to be airlifted to the Gunji basecamp. The situation arose due to dense fog in Chiyalekh valley on way to Gunji.
The pilgrims were supposed to cross over to Tibet through the Lipulekh Pass tomorrow but are still waiting to be airlifted to Gunji, where they would need at least four days for acclimatisation and medical check-up before being cleared for their onward journey, a top official in the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) Ltd, the nodal agency for the Yatra in Pithoragarh, said today. The agency will now have to seek a new date for the batch to crossover to China as the original schedule of July 14 is bound to be missed, he said.
“The Ministry of External Affairs has informed us that the new date of crossing over to Tibet from Lipulekh Pass for the 7th batch will be sought from the Chinese authorities once the batch gets airlifted to Gunji. “We have to keep at least four days in hand for each batch after it reaches Gunji and before it crosses over to China, as we have to acclimatise the pilgrims to the high altitude weather before allowing them to go ahead,” KMVN General Manager (Tourism) TS Martolia said.
The wait was on for the weather to clear so that IAF helicopters could undertake sorties from Pithoragarh to Gunji, he added. The third and fourth batches have returned to Gunji after completion of the pilgrimage but are waiting to be airlifted to Pithoragarh, Martolia said.
“We have the eighth batch waiting at the Almora rest house of the Nigam,” he said. According to a weather office release, rainfall is likely to continue in Dharchula sub-division and the weather beyond Chiyalekh valley towards Gunji air base is still cloudy.