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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Maharashtra sends choppers for rescue op

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, June 22, 2013
First Published: 03:01 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 03:05 IST(22/6/2013)

With more than 2,500 tourists and pilgrims from Maharashtra stranded in Uttarakhand, the state government on Friday, asked senior IAS officers including Thane municipal commissioner RA Rajeev to handle the rescue operations in Dehradun and Haridwar.

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The state government has hired two choppers with a seating capacity of 6-10 to rescue the people from the state.

Chief secretary JK Banthia said that the choppers would be sent immediately to Dehradun.

"We have got reports that private parties have engaged a large number of choppers causing inconvenience to others. Though the Army teams are doing an excellent job, their helicopters are quite big," he said.

Rajeev, who was on leave, has been asked to cut short his leave to handle the rescue operation.

He will be accompanied by IAS officer Vikas Kharge and senior officers from various other departments.

District collectors, too, will coordinate the officers to trace the tourists.

The number of officials, government employees and doctors on the rescue operation in Dehradun and Haridwar has reached 50.

An official from the disaster management cell said that the number of the pilgrims and tourists from Maharashtra is more than 2,500, of which around 2,300 have been located so far. One of them has been reported dead.  

"We have brought 70 people back, while the arrangements for 328 people has been made. We are in touch with our counterparts in Uttarakhand, railway and government of India officials and are doing our best," he said.

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