Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has convened a meeting of his council of ministers on Monday to review and expedite the Uttrakhand flood relief measures, a government spokesperson has said.
Meanwhile, members of Parliament (MPs) and Punjab Vidhan Sabha (MLAs) belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance on Saturday decided to donate a month's salary towards relief and rehabilitation measures. The government said the SAD and the BJP workers had organized a network of langars (community kitchens) and on-the-spot relief camps for people.
More than 1,000 pilgrims arrived at different points in the state on Saturday through buses belonging to or hired by the Punjab government. They are being moved to respective district headquarters. The CM has directed the deputy commissioners to ensure that the passengers were not made to wait on way to the their homes and were taken there on board specially hired cars and other vehicles. "The main task of the state government was to bring out maximum number of pilgrims swiftly from the affected areas such as Gobindghat and Joshi Math to Rishikesh through the government's mini buses, taxis, and then bring them to Punjab," said Badal.
Senior IAS officer A Venuparsad is monitoring the entire evacuation operation and camping at Rishikesh, other officers deputed at Rishikesh include Sumer Singh Gurjar and deputy inspector general Khubi Ram. IAS officer KS Pannu is camping at Joshi Math.
Bureaucrats donate day's salary
The Punjab state IAS officers' association on Saturday announced to contribute a day's salary of all serving Punjab-cadre officers to supporting the rescue and relief operations in Uttrakhand. The president of Punjab State IAS Officers' Association Sarvesh Kaushal said that he had requested the Chief Secretary Rakesh Singh to send the amount to the Prime Minister's Relief Fund after deducting it from their salaries.
The Punjab government has sent more than 100 small and 150 big buses, drawn from various government departments, which will run round the clock to bring back stranded pilgrims from Uttarakhand. On Saturday, more than 1,000 pilgrims came back in 24 buses. Besides, the state government has also sent 10 fully equipped ambulances to the hill state under the supervision of senior bureaucrats. The pilot of a chopper the Punjab government has hired told a senior functionary of the CMO about his "kamar tod (back breaking) flying" on Saturday. The pilot wrote on the SMS that he had made a record 66 sorties, rescued 212 survivors, and sent more than 400-kilogram relief material, food and water, apart from 100-kg rope to help survivors cross the river.