Dozen of local all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders who earn their livelihood providing joy ride to tourists at snow point proved saviour for many tourists who were waiting for help after being trapped in blizzards on Manali-Rohtang highway.
When local youths had news about tourist trapped and search and rescue operation carried out by administration, they too reached the spot and helped rescue many of them. Having four-wheel drive and experience to drive on rugged terrains, MTV riders crushed the snow on highway and transported victims to safe place near Kothi.
“Me, Karam Chand, Mangal Chand, Ram Krishan, Guddu and our friends heard the bad news and decided to join the operation. We really did good job,” said Mahender Kumar, MTV rider from Palchan village. He further recited that they have been joining such operation for years and feel proud as tourists are the source of their income. “This is the best way to show that how friendly we are with tourists.”
Saying that it is impossible to forget the pain that a family was feeling, Karam Chand said, “Though my ATV has passenger capacity of only 2 persons, but I was carrying a four-member family. An elder person from Kolkata who was stuck to me, trying to absorb my body heat, was crying like child. We continued with operation till late night.”
According to police, operation was continued till midnight and all tourists had safely reached Manali and Kothi village till 12.30 am. Around 50 vehicles could not be freed from the snow. Manali DSP Shamsher Singh said that operation to bring down all vehicles is on and there were only 9-10 vehicles left behind and they would be brought before the night.