India: Thousands stranded; rescue work continues

22nd Jun 2013
India: Thousands stranded; rescue work continues

[The Kedarnath Temple is pictured amid damaged surroundings by flood waters at
Rudraprayag in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand]


By Anupam Trivedi


Dehradun, (Hindustan Times):

Army and paramilitary forces for the fifth day of rescue operations on Saturday continued sorties to evacuate more than 32,000 pilgrims who are still stranded in the Garhwal hills of Uttarakhand.
Government figures suggest 550 pilgrims have been killed so far even as unconfirmed report says the toll figure is more than 1,200.
State disaster and mitigation department official note said that 73,000 pilgrims have been evacuated to the safer places.
The note claimed 329 pilgrims were missing while 419 injured were admitted in different hospitals.
Meanwhile, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde held meeting with Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna and officials to take stock of the situation. After meeting Shinde alongwith CM Bahuguna left for the affected areas for aerial survey.

Shinde underlined that union government was doing its best to help Uttarakhand, in a bid to evacuate affected pilgrims. Home Minister added that lack of coordination was an issue that needs to be addressed.

“There’s lack of coordination among the various state agencies” Shinde said. He also refused BJP president Rajnath Singh’s demand that centre should declare Uttarakhand flash floods as national calamity.

“National calamity status hardly makes any difference. We have already provide adequate funds to state and also we are providing help in the form of choppers and Army support” home minister said. He assured more help from the centre.

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi also left for the affected areas from Sahastradhara airport. He was accompanied with BJP leaders from the state.   Modi did not spoke to media persons though on Friday night he maintained that Gujarat was ready to extended help to Uttarakhand. The Gujarat chief minister arrived in capital on Friday. He is another important leader of BJP after Rajnath Singh to visit to the devastated areas.



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