New Delhi: Stepping up relief and rescue operations in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry has deployed more than 45 choppers belonging to the Army and the IAF there along with more than 10,000 troops in the rain-ravaged parts of the hill state.
IAF has deployed 20 Mi-17s and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters in the state where they have evacuated over 1,500 people. Army has also deployed over 8,000 of its troops there along with over 3,000 personnel of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Defence Ministry officials said today.
Defence Minister AK Antony is monitoring the situation and has directed the armed forces to extend maximum possible support in the operations, they said.
Against the backdrop of media reports suggesting that the standard procedure of rescuing old and sick people the first was not being followed there, IAF has also requested the state government that such people be given priority in relief operations while being evacuated, they said.
The Ministry said BRO has also been successful in reopening the important road axis from Rishikesh to Joshimath along with several other major roads in the last 48 hours.
Army has also deployed over 100 Special Forces troops in Kedarnath and Sonprayag area, which is cut-off till now, to link up with people who have been stranded there for last four to five days, they said.
The Army has so far rescued more than 11,000 people, mainly from Govindghat and Harsil. About 10,000 people are also being provided food and medical assistance," an Army release said.