300 State pilgrims stranded but safe in Uttarakhand: Lad

'Thick fog, incessant rain hamper efforts to reach out to victims'

300 State pilgrims stranded but safe in Uttarakhand: Lad

Nearly, 300 pilgrims from Karnataka were still stranded in the rain-ravaged parts of
Uttarakhand and waiting to be rescued, Minister of State for Infrastructure Development Santosh Lad said on Sunday.

No pilgrim from the State, however, has been confirmed dead as yet, he added.

Lad, who is camping in Uttarakhand to co-ordinate the State government’s rescue mission, said that thick fog and incessant rain had hampered the efforts to reach out to the victims.

“Visibility is very poor and weather bad. We are just praying that weather improves and we could resume rescue operations,” he said. The minister, however, hastened to add that all the pilgrims from Karnataka were safe and faced no danger to their lives.

Most of them were said to be in Badrinath and in touch with rescue teams, Lad maintained. The victims, however, were getting frustrated as they were cut off from the rest of the world. Bad weather is only adding to their vexation.

Supply ensured

Army and Air Force personnel were braving bad weather to ensure supply of essential items to places where people were stranded, Lad said.

According to the minister, around 250 people from Karnataka had been rescued so far and sent back to the State, including 74 on Sunday. The State’s rescue teams have a total of six helicopters at their disposal.

Rescue operations

Lad claimed that there was enough stock of essential items, including medicine, and rescue efforts would be intensified once the weather improved.

The State had sent teams, headed by three senior officials, to Dehradun to oversee rescue operations.

The Deputy Commissioner of Social Welfare, Naveen Raj Singh, The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Internal Security), Hemanth Nimbalkar, and the Deputy Director of Mines and Geology, Kari Gowda, are heading these teams.

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