Nine of Pune family went to pilgrimage in Uttarakhand,only five return homehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/nine-of-pune-family-went-to-pilgrimage-in-uttarakhand-only-five-return-home/

Nine of Pune family went to pilgrimage in Uttarakhand,only five return home

Four still missing; group got separated during nature’s fury

Five members of a family in Talegaon-Dabhade town returned from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand on Wednesday night,but there are no celebrations in the household. Four members of the family,three of them women,are still missing in the hills.

The other five members returned home after failed attempts by the Uttarakhand authorities and rescue teams to trace their missing relatives.

“Who would have thought our group of nine on a pilgrimage would get reduced to five while returning? We frantically searched for our missing relatives for almost a week,but could not locate them. Returning without them is fate. We have no words to express our grief,” said Ganesh Pawar.

The Pawar family owns a shop that sells construction material near Maruti temple square in Talegaon Dabhade,around 30 km from Pune city. All the nine members of the family had started their pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi and other places of religious significance by Pune-Jammu Tawi Express,on June 9.

Vasant Pawar (55),wife Urmila (48) and daughter Pallavi (20),besides Urmila’s sister Suvasini-Vasanti Waykar (38),have been missing in Uttarakhand after the floods,since June 17.

Vasant Pawar’s son Suraj (17),nephew Ganesh (33),Ganesh’s wife Sheetal (27) and children Shreya (10) and Viraj (5) returned safely.

“We were heading for Kedarnath in a private vehicle on June 16. The weather was getting worse,and heavy downpour obstructed progress. As advised by locals,we decided to halt at the foothills of Garud Chatti,a remote region in Uttarakhand,” recalled Ganesh.

He said while the family started the journey after almost a day’s break,they decided not to take along Vasanti Waykar for she was feeling weak.

“We ensured arrangements for her at a small house near Garud Chatti,and embarked upon our journey. However,elders and children soon started feeling tired soon as we were on foot. This gradually resulted in our group getting divided. Further,the hunt for water and food and the adverse weather conditions coupled with chaos eventually separated our family members,” Ganesh said.

While one group received timely help from rescue teams and managed to reach to safety,the other group went missing in the fury of nature.

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“We have realised how small we humans are before nature. We are literally helpless when it comes to coping with the nature’s fury,” said Suraj,praying for the well-being and safe return of his parents and sister.