Diabetics, heart patients run out of medicines

Taunts from the authorities, struggle to get food and non-availability of life saving drugs sum up the plight of over 400 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh stranded in Badrinath for the past one week.

Every time their mobile phone rings, the only request made by elderly pilgrims in Badrinath and its surrounding areas is to evacuate them from what they call “living hell”. With the bad weather continuing to disrupt airlifting operations, it is an agony for all those who go to the nearest helipad as boarding a chopper remains the ultimate dream. But they come back disappointed from the helipad on being told that their turn will come “a few days later”. Airlifting the stranded pilgrims is the only option as the road between Badrinath and Joshimath remains cut off since June 15. Unless they reach Joshimath, there is no prospect of going downhill to Rishikesh.

The Hindu spoke on phone with several pilgrims, including those in 28-member group from BHEL Ramachandrapuram, who wept inconsolably.

Vijayalakshmi, wife of Ramanjaneya Chary, an engineer in BHEL, said: “Ät least half a dozen members are suffering from diabetes and heart ailment. We are worried as the medicines are exhausted and there is no way we can get fresh ones. Many of us are down with fever, cough and cold due to inclement weather as we are stuck here since June 16.”

J. Ram Reddy, senior technician in BHEL, broke down explaining how the personnel overseeing the relief operations were taunting the Telugu speaking people. “They say, yours is a big State, what is your government doing? Why is it not arranging helicopters when small States like Jharkhand have done so?” Mr. Reddy recalled.

He said the families of Ramanjaneya Chary and Satyanarayana Reddy were ejected from the helicopter they had boarded without any reason. “They shooed them away and the women members came back crying wondering why they were being discriminated against,” he said.

The pilgrims are running short of food and are at the mercy of the local ashrams for food. “The families are running around in search of food offered in some ashrams,” Mr. Reddy said. The ashram run by the Jeer Swamy provided breakfast today. There was some hope as TDP MP Ramesh Rathod reached Badrinath and interacted with the pilgrims. When contacted, Shashank Goel, Resident Commissioner, AP Bhavan, said a number of vehicles have been arranged at Joshimath to bring them to Rishikesh and Hardiwar.