New Delhi: More than a dozen helicopters have been deployed in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh for relief and rescue operations in the monsoon-ravaged two hill states and all stranded people are expected to be evacuated soon.
Union Home Secretary RK Singh said food, medicines and blankets were air-dropped in remote areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh for the flood-affected people.
"We have provided seven helicopters to Uttarakhand. The state government has also hired four private helicopters. We are providing helicopters to Himachal Pradesh. Hopefully, all stranded people will be evacuated today," Singh told reporters here.
The Home Secretary said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has spoken to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and he himself spoke to Chief Secretaries of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and assured all Central assistance.
"We are in regular touch with both the state governments and providing all help," Singh said.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Home Ministry said two teams of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) were already available in Uttarakhand and 12 additional teams dispatched.
Due to bad weather, the helicopters started operating only this morning. 50 pilgrims have been rescued from Kedarnath and brought to Gupt Kashi. Further sorties are in progress to evacuate the stranded.