Over 3675 people evacuated

Over 3675 people evacuated

Braving inclement weather which disrupted air operations in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, personnel from Army, ITBP and NDRF today continued to evacuate stranded persons from the higher reaches of the state.

Over 3,675 people were evacuated by joint efforts of Air Force, Army, ITBP and NDRF today even as the Border Roads Organisation continued its operations to clear the passages between Tilwara and Rudra Prayag.

The access between Gupt Kashi to Tehri was also cleared, a statement of the Group of Ministers on Media said here.

The statement did not mention the total number of people pulled out so far, nor the number of people still stranded.

BSNL has restored all its towers except four which are in Kedarnath, Dharchula, Augustya Muni and Narayan Bagar.

Out of 72 telephone exchanges that were down, 44 have been restored.

While 75 satellite phones are in use in the state, another 25 are being imported from Hong Kong for use by the agencies involved in rescue work.

BSNL has provided free phone facilities at its telephone exchanges, telephone and control rooms at various locations to enable those stranded to contact their families.
A train is running today from Haridwar to Mumbai, via Kota which will ferry the stranded persons free of charge.

The Health Ministry has dispatched three truck-loads of supplies to Dehradun.
Local police have reached Kedarnath and Gauri Kund and the process of identification of the bodies has begun.

Guleria said there were difficulties in identifying some bodies as their clothes and personal belongings have been damaged or were not present.

The Jungle Chetti area, which was yesterday described as "point of concern" was cleared today of all stranded people.

Army had yesterday reached Jungle Chetti from where Special Forces have created foot tracks to enable able-bodied people to be moved to safer areas.

About 125 people have been evacuated from Gauri Kund and about 100 more are still there and they would be pulled out in the coming days.

Badrinath, where people are in hotels with basic facilities, will be evacuated in the coming days, Air Marshal Deo said.

The state government is making arrangements for transporting the pilgrims in response to reports that some taxi drivers are making exorbitant charges and are fleecing pilgrims, Kapur said.

Two light bridges airlifted by the Air Force yesterday were today carried manually by personnel of BRO and NDRF on their backs in different pieces. They are likely to be "launched" or set up tomorrow, Gularia said.

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