About 9,000 people are still stranded, says State government

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Central and Uttarakhand governments to step up operations to evacuate people stranded in the flood-affected areas.

A vacation Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi gave this direction even as the two governments filed action taken reports pursuant to the order passed by the court on June 20. The Bench directed the matter be listed to June 28 to consider suggestions of petitioner Ajay Bansal.

The Centre said 1,189 air sorties were done by the Air Force while the Army carried out 419 sorties. By June 23, 96,500 people were evacuated. Uttarakhand said about 9,000 people were stranded across the State. The Union government said that on the request of the State, 2,000 tonnes each of wheat and rice were allocated. The armed forces had provided food to 20,380 people. Essential commodities, including food packets, were being airdropped. Food packets, water and medicines were being sent to all affected areas. Relief camps were being organised at different places.

It added that 80 per cent of telecommunication facilities had been restored and 77 satellite phones were distributed to various agencies. The State assured the court that evacuation of all pilgrims would be completed within 72 hours. The death toll was estimated at 560. It said: “there is no shortage of food items and essential supplies in the disaster-affected areas and 50,000 bottles of water and 50,000 packets of biscuits and 45,000 ready-to-eat food packets have been made available. Relief camps are being organised at 62 places.”

The Uttarakhand government said “about 4,00,000 chlorine tablets have been distributed in the affected districts and another five lakh tablets are being procured. There is no shortage of food items and other essential supplies.”

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