15,000 pilgrims stranded on their way to pilgrimag

The Army`s Central Command is carrying out rescue and relief operation in the calamity hit Uttarakhand.

Updated: Jun 18, 2013, 20:58 PM IST

Lucknow: The Army`s Central Command, which is carrying out rescue and relief operation in the calamity hit Uttarakhand, Tuesday said that as per an estimate more than 15,000 pilgrims were stranded on their way to pilgrimages as heavy damage has been caused to transport communications.

"As per the reports given by our teams deployed in rescue and relief operation, the routes leading to Kedarnath, Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib were mostly affected," Army Commander, Central Command, Lt Gen Anil Chait told reporters here.

He said that there were major landslides on these routes, and the roads and bridges have been washed away.

"As per our report nearly 6,000 to 8,000 people are stranded in Kedarnath, 2,500 in Hemkund Sahib and around 8,000 in Badrinath," he said.

Lt Gen Chait said that the Central Command has deployed more than 5,500 officers, JCOs and soldiers in the affected areas of Uttarkashi, Chamauli, Rudryaprayag and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand, which comes under it.
"We are making all efforts to evacuate people and provide them facilities. The Army has in two days evacuated 3,500 to 4,000 pilgrims," he said.

The Army Commander said that at some places people, who were travelling in their private vehicles are not willing to leave their belongings, but they are being motivated to do so.

Lt Gen Chait said that three to four logistic base would need to be developed.

"We need to do aerial insertions and develop big helipads so that evacuation in larger number could be done," he said.

The Army commander said that the force would help the state administration in maintenance of roads and assist it in taking equipments and other resources to affected areas.

He said that so far two helicopters were involved in rescue operation and by tomorrow seven more would come.

"I myself will be positioned in Rudryaprayag from Thursday from where the operation will be controlled," he said.