Rescue gets a push,number of stranded people still a guess

Massive road rebuilding operations are on to restore connectivity in Uttarakhand,with over 4,000 personnel

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 22, 2013 3:21 am

Massive road rebuilding operations are on to restore connectivity in Uttarakhand,with over 4,000 personnel of the BRO deployed at various locations,even as the army and air force doubled their rescue efforts on Friday to airlift stranded pilgrims and tourists to safety.

However,confusion still remains on the number of stranded pilgrims. While the state had estimated that 6,800 pilgrims were still stranded,the armed forces deployed in rescue work put the figure at 18,000.

While the armed forces have been relying on numbers provided by the civil administration to coordinate its rescue efforts,there seems to be scope for miscommunication with an official release by the state putting the number of stranded pilgrims at 6,800,most in Badrinath.

Figures available with the armed forces puts this number at 18,000,with the 3,000 persons stranded at Harsil being given the highest priority for rescue. An estimated 5,000 are stranded at Kedarnath and 10,000 at Badrinath. Rescue operations at Badrinath has been given the minimum priority given that no major loss of life has been reported there.

Elite army para-troopers ,equipped with mountaineering equipment,have been dropped at several locations to reach people stuck in gorges,ravines and nallas between the Kedarnath base camp of Gaurikund and the midway point of Ram Bara Friday morning.

Official said 70 troops are now carrying out search operations near the Ram Bara camp,which has been completely washed away by the floods. A detachment of the special forces,which was dropped at Jungle Chatti near Ram Bara,rescued 16 people who were stranded on the riverbed.

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