Traffic, supplies cut off after landslips

With road traffic blocked by landslips, about 3,000 pilgrims, including a few hundreds from Tamil Nadu, are said to have been stranded in adverse weather conditions at Badrinath in Uttarakhand since September 17.

According to S. Ramaswamy (65) of Chennai, a retired Assistant General Manager of a nationalised bank, more than 800 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu are among those held up at Badrinath, where supplies were totally cut off following the landslips.

“There is no food or medicine here. Many shops have closed down and the situation is worsening with a drastic fall in temperature. The local administration doesn't seem to have the manpower or machinery to clear the debris on the road,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. He was part of a 36-member group taken to Badrinath by a tour operator.

“We were scheduled to return to Chennai on September 18 with confirmed train tickets. There has been no indication of any relief or restoration work in the last one week. Huge boulders are still lying on the roads with scores of vehicles lined up,” he said.

Appealing to the State and Central governments to intervene immediately, he said a majority of those stranded were senior citizens, and that there was neither a doctor nor adequate medical supply at Badrinath.

“There is power supply only for a couple of hours. Our rations have depleted as the shops have closed down. Many families are starving,” Mr. Ramaswamy added.

A similar situation prevailed in the area on September 15 when more than 4,000 pilgrims bound for Uttarkashi from Yamunotri were stranded for about three days near Dharasu.