West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Tuesday that the government would bring back stranded people belonging to the State from Uttarakhand in chartered planes.
Nearly 1,200 pilgrims and tourists from the State had been rescued and of them 350 were brought back in trains, she added.
“Ït’s our responsibility”
The chartered planes would operate from Dehradun or New Delhi, she said. “It is the moral responsibility of the State government to rescue the residents of the State,” she told journalists at the State Secretariat.
Asked how many people from the State died in the recent flash floods in Uttarakhand, Ms. Banerjee said she did not have any information in this regard. “Why are you asking about the dead? We want everyone [to] return alive. We do not have any details and unless we have confirmation we cannot comment on this,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee, who had sent two State Ministers to oversee rescue operations last week, said she had asked Transport Minister Madan Mitra to return while Planning Minister, Rachpal Singh, is still there.
“There are still 400 to 500 people from the State stranded in the Badrinath sector. Though they are being provided food and shelter, the roads have been washed away in the floods and they can only be airlifted,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu over telephone from Uttarakhand.
He said bad weather had affected the rescue operations. “We are arranging all help for those who were able to come down from the affected areas,” Mr. Singh said, adding that the State government has set up camps at Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun.
Keywords: Uttarakhand floods, flash floods, landslips, Uttarakhand landslides, Himalayan ecosystem, Char Dham yatra, Uttarakhand rescue, disaster management, Indian Army rescue, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, Pauri, Himalayan rivers, National Disaster Relief Force, Gaurikund, Hemkund Sahib, Uttarakhand pilgrimage, West Bengal pilgrims