K'taka opts for trains, other states take aerial route

K'taka opts for trains, other states take aerial route

K'taka opts for trains, other states take aerial route

Amid public anger over the delay in evacuating the stranded people from calamity-hit areas of Uttarkhand, many states had arranged for charted flights from Dehradun on Saturday to airlift residents back to their home.

However, the Karnataka government arranged for just a train journey from Delhi to Bangalore, providing second-class sleeper tickets.

As most people who have rescued were strained and urgently required rest and treatment for their ailments, many states have decided to arrange for their journey home by air.

Taking the note of condition of the stranded persons, some Karnataka government officials too reportedly suggested making arrangements to airlift them to Bangalore, but the higher authorities did not respond positively.

As a result, though 110 pilgrims from Karnataka have reached Delhi, 68 left for Bangalore by train on Saturday; the remaining will leave on Sunday.

Around 1,500 people from Karnataka are believed to be still stranded in different parts of Uttarakhand and needed urgent help.

On the other hand, after hearing of the pilgrims’ plight, the Gujarat government swung into action, arranging a Boeng 737-700 from Dehradun and flew 134 passengers to Ahmedabad free of cost. This was the first chartered aircraft to operate from Dehradun carrying stranded tourists and pilgrims, aviation sources said here.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the state, also instructed the officials of his state to arrange for flights to Ahmedabad for people form his state in Dehradun.

While the Punjab government also arranged for chopper services to airlift pilgrims from Dehradun to Chandigarh, the government of Tamil Nadu is providing air tickets to all its pilgrims to return home via Chennai. Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan are also planning similar arrangements to evacuate their people from their states expeditiously. 

Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna in Dehradun on Saturday and assured all help for relief and rescue operations. Hooda left his official helicopter at the disposal of the Uttarakhand government for relief operations.

Interestingly, most states that have arranged for the stranded people to be sent home via flight have done so after getting complaints from the pilgrims’ kin that their return was being delayed due to poor coordination among rescue teams.

Despite the standard operating procedure in place to evacuate and send back stranded people to their homes, many rescued persons complained of poor coordination among and ill-preparedness of different agencies.