Slowly, but surely, the worry creases on the faces of people in Madhya Pradesh are turning into smiles as the number of pilgrims and tourists returning safely from Uttarakhand has started increasing.
However, there are still some families eagerly waiting to hear from their loved ones who have been missing following the deluge in Uttarakhand almost a week ago.
HT spoke to about 25 families on Sunday too, seeking information about their relatives whom they had reported missing earlier.
Many had good news to offer that their kin had returned safely while others said that their fear was reaching the peak because they have no news from their missing relatives yet.
Some are stranded in difficult terrain and are in very bad condition.
A group of 63 people of Deori in Sagar went to Char Dham Yatra and are still stuck at Digambar Jain Dharmashala in Badrinath. Devendra Jain is leading this group.
Prakash Jain, brother of Devendra Jain, told HT from Sagar that he was able to contact his relatives with a lot of difficulty.
“They told me that they have not eaten anything since three days and their condition is pathetic. Anything could happen to them if they are not evacuated fast,” Jain said.
The survivors reportedly told Jain that army was carrying on rescue operations but the number of helicopters was very less as compared to the people stuck there.
The army did not bring them any food and quantity of drinking water brought was almost negligible, he added.
Alok Srivastava, a resident of Bhopal, said that eight of his relatives departed for Kedarnath yatra on June 9 and the last contact with them was on June 15 when they were at Gaurikund. After that there is no news from them.
“My family and relatives departed from Bhopal on June 14 to visit Kedarnath and till date I haven’t received any information about them,” said Jitendra Chirag, a resident of Bhopal.
HT also spoke to Kamal of Bhanpur in Guna district but could talk only for few minutes. “We were 42 people when we departed from our village, Bhanpur to visit Kedarnath temple but now 38 of us are missing and four including me are trapped in a village near Gaurikund,” he said over the phone.
Vinod Srivastava and Mangala Srivastava of Tallaya, Bhopal safely reached Haridwar at 4pm on Sunday.
“Military helped us and after covering 6-7 kms of difficult terrain on foot, we reached Haridwar and are now trying to get our reservation done to come back to Bhopal,” said Mangala Srivastava.
A glass of water cost Rs 200 to Ganesh Soni, who returned to Bhopal on June 23.
He and his wife were marooned for six days when the weather turned bad and the disaster struck. They praised the role of the Indian army who are rescuing people day and night.
Similar are the stories of other survivors from the state capital. Sohail Bansal who returned on Punjab Mail from Uttarakhand on Saturday talked about the horrific conditions in which he and his family had to cross the forests on their own.