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Updated: June 20, 2013 13:13 IST

Nearly 360 stranded pilgrims from A.P. traced

Special Correspondent
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Two teams of officials have been deputed to Dehradun and Haridwar.

The State government has intensified its efforts to evacuate and bring back the stranded pilgrims from Uttarakhand on a war footing.

With as many as 5,000 pilgrims from A.P. on Char Dham yatra stranded in various parts of Uttarakhand during the past one week after heavy rains lashed the hilly state, the AP government rushed its officials to Dehradun.

According to the AP Bhavan team stationed in Haridwar and Dehradun, the whereabouts of 360 pilgrims has been traced. They include a group of 160 pilgrims, who have safely reached Nalapani, about 23 km from Uttarkashi.

Fifty members from Kurnool are safe in Gaurikund, while 12 other women from Visakhapatnam, who went to Kedarnath, have been accounted for. The Haridwar Disaster Management team headed by Additional District Magistrate Naresh Chaudary informed the A.P. government that 116 people were safe in Uttarkashi. A team of 14 pilgrims headed by K. Shastri are safe in Hotel Mandakini, Uttarkashi.

On the instructions of Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, two teams of officials from AP Bhavan, New Delhi, have been deputed to Dehradun and Haridwar.

The two teams would be working under the direction of Pollution Control Board member secretary Sanjay Kumar.

According to a release from Chief Minister’s office, G. Ramakotaiah (09810981293) has been asked to stay put at the Dehradun District Magistrate’s office while M.V.S. Rama Rao (0987199081) is stationed at Dehradun airport. Two more officials – Digamber Bisht (09999989786) and Netar Singh (09818582199) are at the Dehradun central control room.

These teams have been asked to provide all assistance to the pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh. Two buses have been sent from New Delhi to Dehradun and Haridwar to bring the pilgrims back. Over 100 private vehicles have been arranged at Hanumanchatti to transport the pilgrims.

Similarly, the Central Control room in Secretariat (040-23451043 and 23456005) received information from 15 Collectors that as many as 2,381 pilgrims are stranded in Uttarakhand. The helpline in AP Bhavan, New Delhi (011-23384188 and 23782644), working round the clock has received 260 calls from people asking about the information of their relatives and family members. The Uttarakhand administration has set up a separate helpline (0135-2714334 and 2714335) for the missing persons.

Relief agencies

The information gathered by the Delhi helpline was being passed on to the A.P. teams based in Uttarakhand. The helpline was also passing information about the relief agencies and their contact numbers in Dehradun, Kedarnath, Badrinath and Haridwar.

Many of the pilgrims who began journey to Uttarakasi from Vijayawada returned following floods prediction due to heavy downpour en route their journey. Details of the devotees who continued their pilgrimage are not known. “A team of 22-pilgrims hailing from Vijayawada left New Delhi on June 12 for Urrarakasi. On June 14, we visited ‘Yamunotri’ and while we were returning there was a heavy rainfall, which continued for four days. Expecting trouble, we returned and with great difficulty we reached Rishikesh by Wednesday evening. Now we are at Haridwar”, K.V. Visweswara Rao told The Hindu over phone.

In Visakhapatnam, the helpline set up in the district Collectorate has been flooded with calls from relatives. Till date the helpline has received over 111 calls, requesting information about 715 pilgrims from the region.

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