Rescue of the stranded pilgrims and flow of information about the missing ones is being delayed because of lack of coordination in the local rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand, public relations minister Laxmikant Sharma has said.
The minister, who is camping in Haridwar to personally coordinate the rescue and relief operations for the people of Madhya Pradesh, told HT over the phone that while two camp offices of MP government in Uttarakhand for coordinating the rescue and relief operations of state’s pilgrims got operational on Thursday, the lack of specific information from local authorities was making things difficult.
“Of course they (local authorities) are involved in massive operations and thus it might be difficult for them too. We are hoping things would improve in a day or two,” the minister told HT.
Sharma added that he had also spoken to the chief minister of Uttarakhand Vijay Bahuguna in a bid to improve the flow of information about victims/survivors of the state.
Sharma said that state helicopters would be pressed into service after go ahead from chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ( which happened later on Thursday night) and also buses and special bogies in trains would be used to send back the survivors who are in a position to travel and do not have any means to do so.
The minister, who reached Haridwar on Thursday morning with a team of doctors and officials, managed to meet some injured survivors in hospitals in Haridwar and others staying at guest houses in Rishikesh.
He said that the survivors, whether injured or not, are absolutely shaken by the gruesome experience and were quite relieved to find him and MP officials amongst them.
“I met about half a dozen people from Sehore, Gwalior and Jabalpur at the Himalayan Hospital. They are fine now. There are about 800-900 people including those from districts of MP like Sidhi, Satna, Rewa and Tikamgarh staying at the guest houses,” Sharma said.
He said that according to preliminary information, at least 450 pilgrims from MP were stuck at Badrinath alone. Some survivors stranded at Gaurikund informed about shortage of food but later informed that arrangements had been made, the minister said.
While a state officials’ team is holding a camp at Shanti Kunj in Haridwar, another has been posted at the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun to help the MP pilgrims/tourists who are rescued through helicopters by army and other agencies involved locally in the rescue work.