At least 300 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are reportedly stranded on the Gangotri and Yamunotri routes due to incessant rains and landslips for the last 48 hours. With no respite from the heavy rains lashing the area, the pilgrims are waiting for food and water. According to some of the relatives of the pilgrims stuck in Uttarkashi, the situation was grave with landslips hampering relief operations.
According to information, most of the pilgrims hailed from Nalgonda, East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. It is understood apart from established travel agencies several small-time tour operators started operating pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri. As a result, the State government did not have the exact numbers.
Ms. Erukula Sashanka from Srinagar Colony in the City, as many as 21 of her relatives including parents – E. Chenna Kesava Rao and Roopa Devi, were stranded in Uttarkashi since Saturday night. She told The Hindu on Sunday night that the 21 member group had left Delhi by tourist buses operated by Southern Travel, New Delhi.
“They had left on June 12 and had visited Gangotri and were returning to Uttarkashi, where they were to stay for the night, when heavy rains disrupted vehicular traffic leading to heavy traffic jam. My parents told me over phone that more than 100 buses were stuck on the road with no rescue operation in sight,” she added. Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi spoke to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna urging him to take up rescue operation. Relief Commissioner T. Radha told The Hindu that he was trying to contact the District Magistrate of Uttarkashi in a bid to launch rescue operations for the trapped pilgrims but he could not be reached over the phone. Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has set up a helpline to pass on information about the pilgrims. Its number is 01374226126. Nalgonda Collector N. Muktheswara Rao told The Hindu that initial reports suggested that at least 150-200 pilgrims from Miryalaguda and other nearby areas were on a pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri.