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Uttarakhand: Rescue of pilgrims ends,relief supply still a challenge

Now some locals and Nepali labourers remain there who will be evacuated by this evening if the weather permits.

Written by PTI | Dehradun | Published: July 2, 2013 12:38:42 pm

Rescue of pilgrims stranded in Badrinath came to an end today with about 150 of them being safely evacuated even as the administration struggled with the task of supplying relief to remote parts of Uttarakhand where foodgrain shortage has been reported in 170 villages.

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On the 17th day of the calamity,the task of extricating bodies from the debris and their disposal in Kedarnath also remained a major headache for the administration with no cremation having taken place there over the past two days.

The number of bodies cremated there so far is still pegged at 36. Chamoli District Magistrate S A Murugesan said,”All the pilgrims stranded in Badrinath dham have been evacuated. Now some locals and Nepali labourers remain there who will be evacuated by this evening if the weather permits.”

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However,supply of relief to affected villages continues to pose a challenge to the administration with a vast network of roads and bridges still damaged in the area,he told PTI over phone.The bridge over Alaknanda at Lambagar is badly damaged which will take at least 2-3 months to be repaired,he said,adding that the BRO is working on it.

Officials said taking relief material to remote villages due to poor connectivity is a major problem. Though choppers are being used for the purpose the exercise is confined to just a few areas,they said.

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With Gaurikund-Kedar Highway still closed,there is foodgrain shortage in at least 170 villages in Kedarghati area in Rudraprayag district,officials said. But relief material has been despatched to Kalimath,Chandrapuri and Sauri areas in the district. Gangotri Highway in Uttarkashi district is blocked at eight points while Yamunotri Highway is closed from Hanumanchatti to Yamunotri making it difficult to take relief material to affected villages.

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