Locals have to wait till restoration of road network; final batch of 150 pilgrims rescued from Badrinath

The Dehradun Meteorological Department has issued a warning of heavy rainfall (70 mm to 90 mm) in Kumaon region and Chamoli district during the next 72 hours, starting from Wednesday.

V. K. Duggal, member of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said: “Though we have set time limits for reconstruction of roads, restoration of drinking water facilities, and electricity, the ongoing monsoon season must not be ignored.”

Mr. Duggal said the heavy rainfall forecast in the coming days might hinder relief works in interior areas.

“Helicopters are providing essentials to most of the interior villages but bad weather might hinder operations as helicopters will not be able to reach these areas.”

Rescue operations in Badrinath continued on Tuesday. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar said: “All pilgrims have been rescued from Badrinath. Now around 200 locals need to be evacuated.”

Mr. Kumar said helicopters would rescue the remaining people from Badrinath on Wednesday if the weather was favourable.

According to him, drinking water facilities needed to be restored in 130 villages, road connectivity in around 1100 villages, and electricity in 240 villages and hamlets. The majority of these villages are primarily located in Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, and Chamoli districts.

Around 800 people need to be airlifted from Pithoragarh district. Mr. Duggal said: “On Tuesday, 110 people were airlifted from the district but considering the warning from the meteorological department, these operations are subject to weather conditions.”

Mr. Kumar said around 18 readymade bridges had been ordered by the State. “We have started paying compensation for destroyed houses, the injured and the dead people,” he added.

A team of 200 people was sent to Kedarnath to cremate the people as per religious rituals. Mr. Duggal said mass cremation would start on Wednesday.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Tuesday instructed the authorities to ensure that sufficient food supplies for the next three months were stocked up in all affected areas.

The former Chief Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, on Tuesday backed Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj’s statement that Congress rule in the State should end.

In the present scenario, when the authorities were declaring different figures of the dead and the missing people, Mr. Nishank said the State government should issue a white paper for matters of transparency.