HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Char Dham yatra may be halted until July 22

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, July 19, 2014
First Published: 23:16 IST(19/7/2014) | Last Updated: 14:23 IST(21/7/2014)

Heavy rains predicted for the next few days may force the Uttarakhand state administration to suspend the Char Dham pilgrimage until July 22. On Thursday, the government had suspended the pilgrimage for two days until July 18.

“The pilgrimage may remain suspended depending on the weather forecast,” said Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat. “The district administration can take that decision.”

Sources from the Rudrapayrag and Uttarkashi district administrations said that the pilgrimage to Gangotri, Kedanrath and Hemkund Saheb shrines cannot be resumed at least until July 22 in the wake of the heavy rain predictions and road blockades.

“Efforts are on to clear the roads with the help of the Border Roads Organisation, but it’s difficult to say when the pilgrimage can be resumed in view of the recent warnings,” said Rudrparayag DM Raghav Langar.

The Uttarkashi and Chamoli district administrations could not be reached for a comment, but it is unlikely that pilgrimage routes along the regions will be opened in light of the forecast.

The hill town of Nainital, which has been facing a power and drinking water shortage because of heavy rains in the past 48 hours, was abuzz with rumours of a red alert. The district administration, however, denied that a red alert has been issued.

“There is no red alert by the administration, but the administration is on high alert in the entire district,” said Nainital DM Akshat Gupta.

The Dehradun Met Centre on Saturday predicted heavy rainfall (64.5-124.4mm) on July 20.

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