news Monday, April 27, 2015 - 05:30
At least 80 people from Karnataka, who were stranded in quake-hit Nepal, returned to New Delhi on Sunday by a special Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft along with other Indians, an official said."Of the 200 stranded people from the state in Nepal, 80 landed in New Delhi and the remaining will return in batches by air or road, as rescue operations are in full swing by our team in coordination with other agencies," Karnataka Disaster Management Authority secretary V.S. Prakash said in a statement here.The rescued people were accommodated at the state-run Karnataka Bhavan in the national capital for transit halt before returning to their homes in the southern state."Sixty-five people -- 35 from Mandya district and 30 from Belgavi district in the state's northern region -- are on way to Gorakphur in Uttar Pradesh by road from across the Nepal border in buses," Prakash said.The state government has deputed IAS officer Pankaj Kumar Pande and IPS officer Umesh Kumar to Kathmandu to ensure the safe passage of people from the state by coordinating with the Indian and the Nepalese governments.Majority of the people from Karnataka were pilgrims or tourists to the Himalayan nation.According to information from Kathmandu, a nine-member group of tourists from Mangaluru, about 350 km from here, who were on a visit to Pokhara, are reported to be safe.A guide accompanying the group told the Mangaluru-based travel agency which arranged the trip that the tourists were safe and would return to Delhi soon.The state government has also set up three helplines, including toll free number 1070, to deal with the crisis and help the stranded people or their relatives inform about their location to facilitate their return to India.The state government is planning to send relief materials to the affected people and provide assistance to the Nepalese government in relief work."We are ready to offer all help and send relief materials to the affected people in Nepal through the Indian government," Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters at Gadag, about 410 km from Bengaluru.A group of 30 people from Tumakuru, about 70 km from here, who were on a pilgrimage in Nepal, were rescued and are being escorted back to the country through Sunauli on the border."The pilgrims were at the Manakamana temple near Pokhara when the massive quake struck on Saturday. They were waiting to enter the temple when they felt the tremors," a travel agency operator told a news channel.In a related development, volunteers of Bengaluru-based Art of Living Foundation (AoL) centre in Nepal have launched a blood donation drive at Dir hospital in Kathmandu to collect blood for the quake-hit victims."About 200 people who lost their homes in the quake have been accommodated and given food at our centre in Kathmandu, which has been converted into a shelter camp," AoL said in a statement here. IANS