Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu has blamed the Central and State governments for not responding adequately and promptly to the plight of pilgrims of Char Dham who were caught in the floods in Uttarakhand.
On his return from a 10-day tour of US in the early hours of Sunday, Mr. Naidu held a press conference in the afternoon to target the Congress governments for failure to build confidence in the pilgrims when they were in a state of trauma.
He said the relief operations were poor, no control room was set up and there was poor coordination with the Army which was fully involved in salvaging the victims.
Mr. Naidu left for New Delhi in the evening saying he will go up to Dehradun to meet Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna. He said he will proceed till the point that he was permitted by the Army.
He criticised Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy who also held the relief portfolio for not camping in the affected areas to supervise evacuation of pilgrims from the State. The State government could have organised flights to bring back the pilgrims but it pressed into service buses and trains.
The private airlines would have offered to fly the victims free of cost if a request was made.
Mr. Naidu said he was leaving for New Delhi despite a jet lag from his foreign tour as he felt it was his responsibility. His tour was aimed at showing concern to the victims and help speedup rescue work.
Rs. 10 lakh ex gratia sought
He announced one month salary of TDP MPs and legislators to help the victims. He released to the media a letter written by him to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking an ex gratia of Rs. 10 lakh to the families of the dead.