Reaching out to the the victims of cloudburst in Leh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi promised them all possible help and lauded the security forces for their massive relief and rehabilitation effort.
Rahul, who arrived a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's scheduled visit to Leh, took stock of the situation in the worst-affected Choglamsar where numerous houses were buried under the slush following the cloudburst on August 5.
"The prime minister is coming tomorrow. Tell him about the shortcomings freely. Don't be afraid," the 40-year-old Congress leader, dressed in a white kurta-pyjama, told the victims who have taken shelter at a relief camp after they narrated to him their problems.
He said he will also convey their difficulties to the prime minister and will do everything possible to provide them all necessary help. During the five-hour visit, Rahul, who accompanied Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju, visited a military hospital at Leh, where he interacted with patients who had sustained injuries during the calamity.
Rahul and the minister, who reached here by a special aircraft at about 8:30 AM, made an aerial survey of the affected areas of the district. The Congress general secretary also stopped at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police campus here where he praised the work done by security forces and later visited a relief camp run by the Border Roads Organisation.
"Even now I am afraid. My house is gone and in the night even the children climb up the hills because of fear," Jigmat Yangcham, a first year psychology student at the Leizer Joldan Memorial College, told Rahul. She also sought a special package for rebuilding the houses that have either being buried or washed away. The Congress leader replied, "Tomorrow the prime minister is coming. You tell him and I will also tell him. We will try for whatever is possible."
They visited the headquarters of the 14 Corps of the Indian Army, which had carried out massive rescue and relief operations following the natural calamity. Both were given a detailed briefing on the activities of the Corps before they flew back to the national capital. Rahul was also accompanied by Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Minister and local MLA Nawang Rigzin Zora and Chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Chering Dorjay.