Two batches of pilgrims rescued from flood-hit Uttarakhand, arrive in two flights in a space of seven minutes

Tumultuous scenes were witnessed at the Shamshabad airport on Wednesday night as two planes bringing pilgrims rescued from flood-hit Uttarakhand — one chartered by the government and the other by the Opposition Telugu Desam — landed just seven minutes apart.

The airport arrival lounge was awash with security and media personnel, as also TD cadres sporting yellow shirts. In fact, they outnumbered the relatives of the pilgrims who had come to receive them.

The first flight scheduled was a SpiceJet flight chartered by the government and carrying 116 pilgrims, which landed at 8.32 p.m. Seven minutes later, another chartered flight of the Jet Airways, engaged by the TD and carrying 105 pilgrims landed.

While those who had arrived were received with garlands, there was lot of commotion as the media personnel grabbed the pilgrims for bytes and interviews even before they could exchange a few words of comfort with their kin. The emotional reunion of the families and friends had to be cut short as the cameras and mikes were thrust upon the haggard pilgrims.

Activists raise slogans

TD activists, enthused by the presence of Nara Lokesh, son of party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, and senior leaders like former Mayor Teegala Krishna Reddy, provided drinking-water bottles to the pilgrims. They also did not forget to raise slogans praising their party chief and his son. Mr. Lokesh told newsmen that his party would not rest till the last stranded Telugu in Uttarakhand was brought back home.

Transport arrangements

The APSRTC has made arrangements to transport the pilgrims to MGBS and JBS for their onward journey to their home districts. Trips are also being made to five other main locations of the city in eight buses.

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