‘Central and State governments failed to respond to the calamity by not taking assistance of technology and bringing down pilgrim traffic in Uttarakhand’

Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu has said that his party intervened in the relief operations for Char Dham pilgrims as a “responsible party” and with a human touch after the government failed to respond swiftly.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, Mr. Naidu regretted that the Central and State governments failed to respond to the calamity by not taking the assistance of technology. In this context, he recalled how he received an alert from a Hawaii based weather institute about the hurricane that was likely to strike Srikakulam when he was the Chief Minister and how he rushed to Rajahmundry to supervise rescue and relief operations.

When the hurricane crossed over to Odisha coast, Mr. Naidu said he presented the Chief Minister of that State Giridhar Gamang a satellite phone and other logistics support.

If the Centre had forecast the latest calamity well and brought down pilgrim traffic in Uttarakhand, so much of misery would not have been seen. “I still doubt whether the government has comprehended the calamity even now”, he added.

Mr. Naidu said there was discrimination against Telugu speaking pilgrims in the rescue work because of lack of pressure from the State government. All other States coordinated well with the local administration and the Army to rescue their stranded pilgrims.

Narrating stories as told to him by some of the victims, Mr. Naidu said everyone had a common experience to share that it was a rebirth for them.

Airport fracas

He saw happiness on their faces when the TDP went to their rescue. He expressed regrets and tendered an apology for the incident that almost saw Telugu Desam MP Ramesh Rathod and his Congress counterpart V. Hanumanth Rao coming to blows.

There was no need for him to go back to the relief work. His party colleagues would take care till the last pilgrim from the State was back home, he added.