Rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand have reached the final stage and the focus has shifted on tracing missing people from Madhya Pradesh. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan reached Uttarakhand on Sunday and would fly back to Bhopal on Monday with 160 pilgrims.
Chouhan handed over a list of 593 missing people from the state to his counterpart in Uttarakhand Vijay Bahuguna during his visit. Chouhan also offered to adopt some destroyed villages and reconstruct them.
Coordinator of relief operations in Uttarakhand Sanjay Goel said there are still about 350 pilgrims at the relief camp out of which about 160 would be flying back with the CM on Monday. Others would be sent on the next flight the next day.
According to a government release, the CM said a team of Madhya Pradesh’s officers headed by inspector general of police would remain stationed there to trace missing pilgrims.
Inspector general of police Pramod Phadnikar, who had also worked with Indo-Tibet Battalion, will lead a team to trace the missing people.
All the missing people will be traced through war-footing efforts by the team with the cooperation of Uttarakhand government and local administration.
Chouhan said considering the magnitude of the calamity, the Union government should declare it as a national disaster.
A national policy needs to be chalked out on disaster management. CM interacted with affected pilgrims staying in Madhya Pradesh’s relief camp at Shanti Kunj, Haridwar. He assured the pilgrims of all help from the government.
Chouhan did not forget to laud the army’s role in relief and rescue operations.
He reiterated that Madhya Pradesh government will provide Rs 10 lakh assistance each to families of army personnel who have lost their lives during relief operations.
He also thanked Gayatri Parivar for liberal cooperation extended to the calamity victims. He said that on the second day of the disaster, he had visited Haridwar and appealed to Gayatri Parivar to make arrangements for rescuing the stranded pilgrims and providing them meals etc.
The government release claimed that 5,035 pilgrims have been sent back home from Uttarakhand so far.
At least seven special planes were chartered and arrangement of state government’s helicopters, 13 buses and other helicopters were also made. In all, 2,435 pilgrims were brought to Shanti Kunj where they were provided shelter, treatment and food.
At least 90 pilgrims were brought from Sahastra Dhara while 4,900 pilgrims were provided food and treatment in Rishikesh. Boeing planes have brought about 1,100 pilgrims. Madhya Pradesh’s helicopters rescued 453 pilgrims while 1,854 pilgrims were airlifted with the assistance of the army.
The state government also provided Rs 8,05,000 cash to 1,256 pilgrims who had no money.