Artificial lake forms in Himachal’s Spiti, tourists evacuated

June 18th, 2012 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, June 18 (IANS) A small artificial lake has been formed in Himachal Pradesh’s Spiti with the melting of a glacier and the water inflow into it been increasing, triggering panic among the locals. Officials however ruled out any immediate threat.

Meanwhile, eight foreign tourists, who were stranded in the Pin Valley for over a week, due to formation of the lake and landslides, have been evacuated, an official spokesman said here Monday.

The government said it was monitoring the situation and there was no immediate threat from the lake located on the Pin river in the Spiti region.

Official sources said the size of the lake has been increasing day by day with the thawing of glaciers in its catchment. “If it bursts, it could severely damage the villages located downstream,” an official told IANS.

Locals said area of the lake, formed near Shangni village in the Pin Valley, some 300 km from Shimla, has increased to over three square km and the depth increased to more than 20 feet.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate Hemis Negi ruled out any threat.

“There is no immediate threat to the downstream areas,” Nagi told IANS over phone from the spot.

He said government choppers have airlifted most of the stranded tourists, including eight foreigners, and provided essential commodities to the locals.

The people were struck for over a week as the lake damaged the nearby highway, he added.

Two foreigners were airlifted Sunday, whereas the remaining six were airlifted Monday.

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