New Delhi: Railways has set up a task force to monitor the situation in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand and ensure smooth evacuation of stranded passengers.
The task force will coordinate with the state government and arrange special trains to evacuate stranded passengers at hills.
The four-member task force headed by Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal will also ensure adequate arrangement of catering facilities and drinking water at stations for affected passengers.
The other members of the task force are Railway Board additional member Satya Prakash, executive directors P Guha and Madhukar Reddy.
Special trains have already started plying from Haridwar to Lucknow, Mumbai and Secunderabad, a senior Railway Ministry official said, adding, "More special trains are being planned to carry stranded passengers free of cost."
The official said Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, who is continuously reviewing the arrangements, has given instruction to ensure sufficient empty rakes at Haridwar and Dehradun adequate arrangement for evacuation of stranded passengers.
The Railways has also deputed four special officers at Dehradun, Haridwar, New Delhi and Rishikesh for coordinating with the state authorities and ensuring management and dispersal of passengers by train services.
Passenger help booths set up at these locations are being manned round-the-clock.
Railways has also set up helplines at Dehradun (01352-622131), Haridwar (09760534054/09760534055) and Rishikesh (01352-434167).
The official said doctors and paramedical staff in sufficient numbers have been deployed at these stations. Besides, RPF personnel have also been deputed at these locations to control the crowd.
Additional booking and enquiry counters are also being set up at these stations to cater to the demand of the stranded passengers.