More than 500 from AP feared dead

More than 500 from AP feared dead

After a week long wait, kin of those missing in the flash floods from Andhra Pradesh (AP) are losing hope. Even senior bureaucrats entrusted with the responsibility of tracing the pilgrims are clueless on the death toll as no information was forthcoming from their counterparts in Uttarakhand.

However, unofficial estimates put the figure at 500 out of the 7,000 odd pilgrims that undertook the Char dham Yatra. 

“My daughter’s in-laws were in the list of Southern Travels. The rest have returned or are in Delhi. The local office said they have no knowledge about them and is asking us to go to Delhi,” rued Divakaruni Sai Prasad from Sangareddy.

Konijeti Srinivas and wife Bhraramba who returned from Delhi by the Duranto Express narrated their harrowing experience.  “We started our yatra from Gangotri to Yamunotri. We were stranded near Ayisa village. We saw houses coming down like a pack of cards and saw many washed away in surging waters,” Srinivas, a relative of Tamil Nadu Governor Konijeti Rosaiah, recalled.

Meanwhile, 650 out of the 1,150 pilgrims rescued from different locations and sheltered in AP Bhavan in Delhi have been provided free travel to Hyderabad.

 State ministers Danam Nagender, D Sridhar Babu are looking after arrangements and have handed over Rs 3,000 per head to help them reach their respective destinations.

According to the Officer on Special Duty Sanjay Kumar and the principle secretary of the AP pollution control board, who are supervising the rescue operations, the actual number of pilgrims will not be less than 11,000.  “Many have reached AP Ashram in Rishikesh, and the TTD temple. We have arranged a help desk at the Rishikesh bus stand. We believe that rescue operations will take at least another week,” Kumar said. 

“At this moment we can confirm the death of only nine and 36 as missing,” he added.Announcing its intention to organise programmes to collect funds to assist in rescue operations, the Telugu film fraternity announced on Sunday that cine artists are ready to do their part in tandem with Bollywood. 

TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, who has sent party leaders to Delhi, while addressing a media conference demanded the prime minister to declare Uttarakhand disaster a national calamity and embark on a major rescue operation.

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