With the arrival of 500 more pilgrims from Rishikesh to Punjab on Thursday night,the total number of pilgrims so far evacuated from different parts of flood-hit Uttarakhand is set to touch 8,000.
The Punjab government,meanwhile,has intensified efforts to evacuate over 2,500 pilgrims,including over 350 Punjabis,stranded at Badrinath by Friday evening with heavy rains halting rescue operations for a few hours.
The government has also dispatched a special rescue operation team led by Dr Adapa Karthik to Badrinath.
We have joined operations in the morning and met stranded devotees at Badrinath. About 350 pilgrims from Punjab were at Badrinath and sick pilgrims are being evacuated on priority. The weather permitting,we plan to complete the evacuation operation by Friday or Saturday evening, said Karthik.
Karthik added: The teams from Punjab had been safely rescued thousands of pilgrims from Hemkunt Sahib,Gobind Dham,Gobind Ghat,Nagrasu and other hilly areas. Weather permitting,the remaining pilgrims at Badrinath will be air lifted to Joshimatth by Friday afternoon.