'Heavy rain' alert keeps Uttarakhand on its toes

  • Prithviraj Singh, Hindustan Times, Dehradun
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2014 20:46 IST

The official machinery in Uttarakhand was put on high alert after the weatherman issued warning for "heavy rainfall" in the next three days, reviving memories of last year's deluge in the disaster-prone state.

Both the central and state meteorological departments have issued as many as four special weather bulletins since Monday night warning of heavy rainfall "especially in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts".

The state has been experiencing intermittent rains since the monsoons arrived in these parts.

In June last year, a similar warning for "heavy rains" was followed by the unprecedented flash floods which had ravaged five districts and left nearly 5,000 dead. The unofficial death toll, however, was pegged around 10,000 as many bodies were never found.

The 'chardham yatra' – the annual pilgrimage by lakhs of devotees – has also been called off since Saturday in view of inclement weather.

Most of those who had perished last year were 'chardham' pilgrims.

Such has been the impact of the warning that even chief minister M Harish Rawat, who is still not fully fit after suffering a neck injury, has got into action to supervise the state's preparedness.

Asking all the 13 district magistrates to be on alert, Rawat has also asked the officials to comply with "every nuance" as spelled out by the meteorological department.

Six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have already been deployed in six locations in the Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

The latest alert includes the five districts affected by last year's floods – Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi in the Garhwal region and Bageshwar and Pithoragarh in Kumaon region.

"Heavy rainfall could occur in Kumaon region especially in Pithoragarh, Champawat, Nainital, Almora and US Nagar districts," said the weather forecast for July 16, 17 and 18.

Raghav Langer, the disrict magistrate of Rudraprayag, confirmed the alert and said, "We are keeping a tab every happening owing to weather changes. Pilgrims are being taken care of and their movements are being monitored properly."

Landslides were reported on Sunday and Monday due to which traffic was held up on several arterial roads and highways in the state. Uttarkashi received 88 mm of rains on Tuesday followed by Dehradun which received 64 mm of showers.

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