Around 730 mules were rescued from the Alaknanda river in Govindghat in Chamoli district on Saturday even as heavy rain continued to obstruct relief operations in Uttarakhand.

The mules were rescued using a makeshift bridge set up by the Border Roads Organisation.

S.A Murugesan, District Magistrate, Chamoli, said the makeshift bridge would be dismantled by Sunday morning after all the mules are rescued. In about five days, the Public Works Department will start building a permanent bridge in the area.

At present, animal rights activists and members of animal welfare groups are working in the area to save mules that are still stranded in the Kedarnath Valley.

Heavy rains predicted

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued warning of ‘heavy to very heavy rain’ at several places in the State over the next few days. The incessant rain forced a Central government team which came to inspect the area to wait for several hours before leaving Pauri. Chandresh Yadav, District Magistrate (Pauri), said: “The teams had to halt in Pauri on Friday because of the weather. Today they left after the weather cleared up a bit.”

Dilip Jawalkar, District Magistrate (Rudraprayag), saidno bodies were recovered over the past three days and cremations were halted in Kedarnath owing to bad weather.

Mr. Murugesan said the State government has ordered distribution of free ration to the affected villages in the State for a month. The work of free distribution will start in a week’s time.