They will be airlifted to Joshimath and then taken to Dehradun by road

If the prevailing fog conditions improve, there is hope yet for 200 pilgrims from the State, now stranded in Badrinath for over 10 days, being airlifted to Joshimath and taken to Dehradun from there by road. This comes as a ray of hope for the stranded pilgrims even as 11 members of a family hailing from Maddur in Mandya district continue to remain “missing”. However, two children of the family were found on Tuesday.

Senior citizens and children would be given priority in the airlift and the army authorities have issued tokens to them.

“If weather permits, all the pilgrims (about 8,000) could be airlifted in three days,” Infrastructure Development and Information Minister Santosh Lad, who reached Badrinath on Tuesday, told The Hindu over phone from Badrinath.

The Minister met 200 pilgrims in distress at Badrinath, Ramabada and Gaurikund where they have been provided temporary shelter. Rainfall and fog in the area have prevented evacuation. “The pilgrims are depressed and tired. Some are not even able to walk. There are many senior citizens with complaints of joint pain, hypertension, asthma and cardiac condition. The situation is pathetic with zero visibility making evacuation very difficult,” Mr. Lad said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Internal Security) Hemant Nimbalkar confirmed that the two children from Maddur, whose identity was not revealed, were found in make-shift camps on Tuesday. However, K.S. Narasimhaswamy, a relative of the family, said that they are yet to hear from the authorities about the two children being rescued.

The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will contribute Rs. 1 crore to the National Calamity Relief Fund that could be used for relief work in Uttarakhand. Besides, it was announced, the 198 elected councillors and 20 nominated councillors will contribute their one month’s honorarium to the fund.