Uttarakhand government has announced it will regulate the flow of pilgrims to Badrinath after route to the shrine was battered by landslides.
Pilgrims will now have to trek 2-3 kilometres on an alternative track to avoid the landslide-affected location of nearly 400 metres on NH 58 at Hathi Pahad between Joshi Math and Vishnu Prayag.
Additional chief secretary Rakesh Sharma on Thursday said: “Pilgrims will have to trek for about 2-3 kilometres to reach Vishnu Prayag from where they will be directly taken to Badrinath in vehicles available there. Similar method will be adopted on way back from Badrinath.”
This service, according to Sharma, will be available till the route is cleared. He said the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and the state government agencies were likely to clear and reconstruct the devastated strip in the next 72 hours.
The state government is also planning to provide low-cost helicopter service to pilgrims from Joshi Math to keep the pilgrimage going.
Government is likely to offer fares at Rs500 for elderly pilgrims, women and children and Rs750 for men. Chief Minsiter Harish Rawat is camping at Joshi Math to assess the situation.
Earlier in the day, a team of senior government officials, including PWD secretary Amit Negi, secretary CMO Meenakshi Sundaram, IG Garhwal Sanjay Gunjyal and BRO chief engineer R Subramaniyam flew to the landslide zone to monitor evacuation process of pilgrims and road reconstruction work.
Apart from those evacuated, around 150 pilgrims have chosen to stay at Badrianth Shrine while 100 odd pilgrims were on way to the shrine.
Landslides hit the stretch three times since Monday. According to Sharma, last landslide was at 4.30 am on Thursday.