Uttarakhand Floods Chennai

One Chennai resident still missing

The 62-year-old and his wife had gone on a Char Dham pilgrimage  

The last time C. Rama spoke to her husband V. Chandramouli, was when they were climbing a mountain on their way back from a pilgrimage in Kedarnath, on the night of June 17.

Chandramouli, a sanitary-ware trader and resident of Anna Nagar is the only person from the city still missing, 23 days after devastating floods ravaged Uttarakhand.

The 62-year-old and his wife had left the city for a Char Dham pilgrimage on June 9.

Chandramouli’s relatives have gone to Srinagar and Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand and put up his photographs all over – at dhabas, police stations and at Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun, in a desperate attempt to find him.

To date, they have had no news of him.

Rama (53) and her husband had flown to Delhi on June 9, from where they took a bus to Uttarakhand. After visiting Haridwar, Rishikesh and Yamunotri, they went to Kedarnath and stayed at a hotel, waiting out the heavy rains that had begun by then. The plan was to visit Kedarnath temple and then trek 18 km to Gaurikund. Though they managed to get to the temple on the Garhwal Himalayan range, they were not able to return, as even though the rains had stopped, the mountain path had been severely damaged. After a few kilometres, they were forced to stop.

“We stopped at a tea shop as the dholi-wallahs said the road ahead was cut off due to the rains. Even while we were waiting, water started gushing in from all sides. After waiting for a day at the shop, we moved on and walked for some distance along the dholi path and then climbed up a mountain as the path ahead was blocked. Others too were climbing up to get to the other side,” said Rama, who has bruises on her feet, back and hip after she slipped and fell off the mountain.

Rama and her husband were separated near the mountain top.

“I was climbing ahead and my husband was following me. There were lots of people climbing, and some were quite slow. After a while, we got separated. By the time we reached the top it was very dark and I could not see him, I only felt his presence. In the morning, I slipped and fell down the mountainside and though I was bruised, I waited for him to come down. But he never did,” said Rama.

Alone, exhausted, with no food and a fever due to her wounds turning septic, Rama had to wait until someone carried her to a makeshift helipad.

“I didn’t know where I was being taken or what was happening. I could only hear vehicles going by. People were offering me juice and medicines. The first thing I remember from that time was that I was in a hospital and the doctor was telling me I was out of danger,” she said.

Chandramouli’s relatives were notified about his wife’s whereabouts on June 22. They rushed to Uttarakhand and brought her back on June 25.

“We searched nearby hospitals for Chandramouli but to no avail,” said V.C. Thriveen, Chandramouli’s nephew.

An advertisement in two Hindi newspapers resulted in a call from Manish alias Ravi, who said he had seen Chandramouli in the area between Rudraprayag and Srinagar.

“We stopped at all dhabas on the route. One dhaba-wallah said he had seen someone resembling my uncle but that was all,” said Thriveen.

The Tamil Nadu government meanwhile has circulated Chandramouli’s photographs to all police stations and district administrations.

“A total of 10 persons are missing from Villupuram, one from Nagapattinam and one from Chennai. We are continuing our search for the missing pilgrims. A team of officers has been stationed at Dehradun to coordinate in the search operations,” said a source.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 7:28:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/one-chennai-resident-still-missing/article4892361.ece

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