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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

61 HP pilgrims stranded in Kedarnath valley

Naresh K Thakur , Hindustan Times  Dharamsala, June 20, 2013
First Published: 00:54 IST(20/6/2013) | Last Updated: 00:56 IST(20/6/2013)

The unprecedented flashfloods triggered by torrential rains that completely devastated Kedarnath Valley, killing hundreds of people in Uttarakhand, has left 61 pilgrims, including 26 from Kangra and 35 from Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh, stranded at different places.

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Pilgrims from Kangra district most of them from Dharamsala are currently staying in a camp near Agastya Muni, 25 km from Kedarnath. They were scheduled to return from Kedarnath on the day natural disaster hit the area.

Prateek Sood, a councillor in the Dharamsala Municipal Council, whose parents Narender Sood and Manjulata are in the Agastya Muni camp, said the group was staying in a hotel in Kedarnath on Monday when the tragedy struck.

“The hotel was washed away in the floods. Fortunately, my parents and other pilgrims staying there had evacuated it a few hours ago,” said Sood, adding that the group spent two nights in the bus, but when the water level increased, they trekked 3 km up to a village.

He said the worried kin here were trying to get in touch with the family members stranded in Uttarakhand. They could speak to them only on Wednesday when they reached Agastya Muni.
“They had traveled almost 25 km to Agastya Muni on Tuesday and are living in a camp set up,” he said.

He said they had approached the district administration and urban development minister Sudhir Sharma for help.

Another Dharamsala resident, Ankur Mahajan, said his mother Shivkanta was also in the same group.
“We are worried about her health now. We have sought help from the government, but till now no step has been taken to evacuate the pilgrims from the state,” said Mahajan, adding that the conditions in the camp were pathetic as his mother told him.

He said the lack of drinking water and proper food has added to the problems of the pilgrims stranded there.

Meanwhile, 35 more people are reportedly stranded in various parts of Kedarnath valley, including 25 from Kumarsain and 10 from Rohru of Shimla district.

Meanwhile, UD minister and local MLA Sudhir Sharma said the administration was trying to establish contact with the Uttarakhand administration and was considering airlifting the pilgrims from Agastya Muni.


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