Heavy rains make it difficult to take up relief operations, say officials

At least 300 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are reportedly stranded on the Gangotri and Yamunotri routes due to incessant rains and landslips for the last 48 hours.

With no respite from the heavy rains lashing the area, the pilgrims are waiting for food and water. According to some of the relatives of the pilgrims stuck in Uttarkashi, the situation was grave with landslips hampering relief operations.

According to information, most of the pilgrims hailed from Nalgonda, East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. It is understood apart from established travel agencies several small-time tour operators started operating pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri. As a result, the State government did not have the exact numbers.

Ms. Erukula Sashanka from Srinagar Colony in the City, as many as 21 of her relatives including parents – E. Chenna Kesava Rao and Roopa Devi, were stranded in Uttarkashi since Saturday night. She told The Hindu on Sunday night that the 21 member group had left Delhi by tourist buses operated by Southern Travel, New Delhi.

“They had left on June 12 and had visited Gangotri and were returning to Uttarkashi, where they were to stay for the night, when heavy rains disrupted vehicular traffic leading to heavy traffic jam. My parents told me over phone that more than 100 buses were stuck on the road with no rescue operation in sight,” she added.

Chiru speaks to Uttarakhand CM

Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi, on learning about the plight of the pilgrims, spoke to the Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and State Tourism Minister Amrutha Rawat urging them to take up rescue operation. Sources said the Uttarakhand officials informed the Tourism Minister that heavy rains continued to lash the area making it difficult to take up relief operations.

Relief Commissioner T. Radha told The Hindu that he was trying to contact the District Magistrate of Uttarkashi in a bid to launch rescue operations for the trapped pilgrims but he could not be reached over the phone. Mr. Radha said he came to know about the incident only through TV channels.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand government has set up a helpline to pass on information about the pilgrims. Its number is 01374226126.

Nalgonda Collector N. Muktheswara Rao told The Hindu that initial reports suggested that at least 150-200 pilgrims from Miryalaguda and other nearby areas were on a pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri. “Ï spoke to Uttarkashi Collector Rajesh Kumar, who said that rescue teams were already on their way,” he added.

Uttarakhand government

sets up helpline 01374226126

to pass on information about pilgrims