Rescue efforts picked up steam in flood-hit Uttarakhand, with 82,000 people having been evacuated by road and air till Saturday. However, 22,000 are still stranded in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts.

According to the Uttarakhand Disaster Mitigation Centre, the Army, Air Force and private helicopters made 150 sorties on Saturday. The copters had rescued 8,831 people till Saturday.

Of the 35 helicopters engaged, 15 belong are private and 20 from the Air Force.

Union Home Secretary R.K. Singh said more helicopters would be provided if need arose.

Anand Sharma, Director, Meteorological Centre, Dehradun, said: “A cyclonic circulation in the Bay of Bengal has induced a low pressure area. Moisture-carrying wind is flowing into many areas in Uttarakhand.”

The weather would be cloudy from June 23 to 25. Lightning and showers would occur at many places in the State from June 25 to 27, Mr. Sharma said.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police fears the bad weather could affect rescue operations. Nineteen bodies, which were carried in the Ganga from the disaster-ravaged areas, were recovered in Haridwar.

All roads except Rudraprayag-Gaurikund, Joshimath-Badrinath, and Uttarkashi-Gangotri were opened by Saturday evening.

Official reports said all stranded pilgrims were being provided with food, water and medicines. They would be provided free transport to their destinations. They were allowed free access to guesthouses of the State government.

The Railway Ministry has arranged special trains for the stranded from Haridwar to Lucknow, Ambala, and Delhi, and plans to run more specials.

Bhaskar Joshi, Secretary, Uttarakhand Disaster Mitigation Centre, quoting official data, said the evacuation operation at Kedarnath in Rudraprayag district got over by Saturday evening.

Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said people in Gangotri in Uttarkashi district and at Ghangaria in Chamoli district had been evacuated.

While 3,000 were rescued from Guptkashi on Saturday, 5,000 still remain stranded in Badrinath.

“Right now our major concern is to evacuate the larger places, small areas will be figured out later,” Mr. Kumar said.

Lieutenant General N.S. Baba said that around 1,000 people were stranded between Rudraprayag and Gaurikund. Union Housing Minister Girija Vyas assured displaced people jobs under the Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana.

RELATED NEWS

Court calls for status report on Uttarakhand rescueJuly 12, 2013

Six killed in Nainital landslideJuly 12, 2013

No more tree-huggersJuly 6, 2013

Rescue moves to battle mode as more rains forecastJune 23, 2013

Bad weather hampers rescue work in KinnaurJune 23, 2013

123 bodies recovered from Kedarnath temple areaJune 22, 2013

Shinde blames it on lack of coordinationJune 22, 2013

Centre ramps up rescue work in UttarakhandJune 21, 2013

They want to go back to trace their missing kinJune 22, 2013

A happy end to a harrowing ordealJune 21, 2013

Sonia asks Cong, MPs, MLAs to donate a month’s salaryJune 21, 2013

Dhruv helicopters fly high in UttarakhandJune 20, 2013

Officials warn of ‘shocking’ death tollJune 20, 2013

Another climate change eventJune 21, 2013

Nature avenges its exploitationJune 21, 2013

'Nothing happens before, after disaster'June 21, 2013

8 pilgrims from AP dead, several missing in UttarakhandJune 21, 2013

Pilot injured as rescue helicopter crashes in Uttarakhand June 21, 2013

Now, tales of woe pour in June 22, 2013

Facebook to the rescue of pilgrimsJune 22, 2013

DMK contributes Rs. 25 lakhs for Uttarakhand relief workJune 22, 2013

Stranded pilgrims fleeced in Uttarakhand June 22, 2013

Army speeding up rescue work: Gen Bikram SinghJune 22, 2013

Shinde’s remark on relief efforts disappointing: BJPJune 22, 2013

Uttarakhand floods: Disaster management in disarrayJune 22, 2013

Uttarakhand tragedy: Patience of kin running thinJune 22, 2013

Uttarakhand floods: Over 10,000 rescued amidst misery and devastationJune 23, 2013