New Delhi/Dehradun: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday spoke to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami to take stock of the situation in the state hit hard by incessant rains.
The chief minister briefed Modi about the situation and said the administration is fully alert. Modi assured Dhami of all necessary help to deal with the situation.
Modi also spoke to Union minister Ajay Bhatt, who hails from the state, in this regard, official sources said.
Five people, including three labourers from Nepal, were killed and two others were injured in rain-related incidents in Uttarakhand on Monday.
State authorities have advised Chardham pilgrims not to proceed to the Himalayan temples till the weather improves.
Eleven more deaths were reported in Uttarakhand on Tuesday as incessant rains continued to lash various parts of the state, especially Kumaon region, razing houses to the ground and leaving many trapped in the debris.
Nainital was cut off from the rest of the state with three roads leading to the popular tourist spot blocked due to a series of landslides.
Eleven deaths in rain related-incidents were reported on Tuesday, while many people are feared trapped in rubble following cloudbursts and landslides, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami told reporters in Dehradun.
This takes the toll in rain-related incidents across Uttarakhand to 16, with five deaths reported on Monday, he said.
Dhami assured that three Army helicopters will soon arrive to assist in relief and rescue operations underway in the state.
Two of these helicopters will be sent to Nainital and one to the Garhwal region to rescue people stranded at different points, he said.
The CM, however, asked people not to panic, saying all necessary steps are being taken to evacuate them to safety.
He also reiterated his appeal to Chardham yatris to stay where they are and not to resume their journeys before the weather improved.
The damage caused by the rains is being assessed, Dhami noted, admitting that farmers had been hit hard by the incessant showers.
The Mall Road in Nainital and Naina Devi temple located along the banks of Naini lake have been flooded, while a hostel building has been damaged due to landslides.
The district administration is trying its best to help tourists stranded in the town, the police has been deployed to warn incoming and outgoing traffic, asking them to stay put until the wet spell is over, a report from Nainital said.
Landslides have blocked the exits in the town. Around 100 people got stuck at Lemon Tree resort on Ramnagar-Ranikhet route, with water from swollen Kosi river entering the resort.
Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel spoke to his Uttarakhand counterpart Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday regarding Gujarati pilgrims stuck in the northern state following incessant rains there and urged him to extend all possible help to the visitors.
As per a rough estimate, around 100 pilgrims from different parts of Gujarat, who went to Uttarakhand for the Chardham Yatra, were stranded following heavy rains and landslides there, Gujarat Revenue Minister Rajendra Trivedi said.
Gujarat CM Patel spoke to Dhami over phone and urged him to provide necessary help to the stranded pilgrims from Gujarat. The CM also asked officials to start contacting the stranded people, an official release said.
Following Patel’s instructions, the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) issued a helpline number – 07923251900 – to collect and share information about the stranded pilgrims, it said.
About 80 to 100 pilgrims from Gujarat are currently stuck in different parts of Uttarakhand due to heavy rains and bad weather, Trivedi said.
“Out of them, six are stuck at a considerable height near the Kedarnath temple. However, they are not in any danger. Others are currently staying in hotels in other places such as Joshimath. At present, all the stranded pilgrims are safe, including those six,” he said.
While the weather is now getting better, several roads are closed due to landslides, the minister noted.
“We are in contact with the Uttarakhand government to airlift those six pilgrims. It is not possible at present because of the rough weather. They will be rescued using a helicopter once the weather improves,” Trivedi said.
Among those stuck in Uttarakhand included a group of 18 people from Rajkot, six persons from Maninagar area of Ahmedabad and six youths from Thaltej area of the city.
One of the stranded persons from Rajkot, Mahesh Sorathiya, in a video message said, “We are a group of 18 pilgrims from Rajkot who are on the Chardham Yatra. Due to bad weather, we have been stuck in a hotel in Netala area on Gangotri road for last two days. Luckily, we all are safe here. We are waiting for the weather to clear so that we can begin our journey.”
The Uttarakhand authorities have advised Chardham pilgrims not to proceed to the Himalayan temples till the weather improves.