With pilgrims and tourists stranded in flash floods in Uttarakahand hailing from all parts of the country, several state governments have rushed teams to the hill state to help bring back the affected persons and also announced aid.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced Rs. 1,000 crore for disaster relief measures in flood-devastated parts of Uttarakhand where 102 persons have
been killed and thousands left stranded at tourist spots and pilgrim centres.
Singh, who undertook an aerial survey of rain-ravaged Uttarakhand alongwith UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, said what they saw was "most distressing" and the priority for the authorities was to rescue the stranded and provide succour to those most in need of it.
Over 10,000 personnel of the armed forces, 18 helicopters and a transport plane of the Air Force have been deployed for relief and rescue operations in the state where thousands have been stranded at tourist spots and pilgrim centres.
Intensifying relief and rescue operations, the government has pressed into service 22 helicopters to airlift those stranded by flash floods in Uttarakhand where the death toll has mounted to 182.
With the weather improving on Thursday, the government has agreed to the demand for the supply of additional food grains in the flood-hit areas.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
As the magnitude of tragedy caused in Uttarakhand continues to unfold, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued an appeal to the public for generous donations to support the victims who have suffered "extensive devastation".
In his appeal, Singh said the central government is extending all cooperation and assistance to the state government in rescue and relief operations.
He said "extensive devastation" has been caused due to cloudbursts and floods in the state and a large number of people have died and property worth crores of rupees has been damaged.
"At this moment, affected people need our help to tide over the calamity that has fallen upon them, to survive and to rebuild their lives. I request all citizens of India to stand with our distressed fellow countrymen, and actively participate in the national effort to support them at this difficult time," the Prime Minister said.
"I appeal to all citizens to donate generously to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund," he said.
Condoling the death of those killed in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced financial help of Rs. 25 crore to the neighbouring state.
"The CM has announced Rs. 25 crore financial help to natural calamity-hit Uttarakhand state and asked people to provide help to the state in any way," an official release said in Lucknow.
Yadav assured that the state government would provide all help for relief and rescue operation in Uttarakhand.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday contributed Rs. five crore for relief work among the victims of the Uttarakhand flash flood.
A state government officer has gone to Dehradun with the cheque of Rs. five crore on the instruction of the chief minister, Anjani Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary to the CM, said.
Kumar has made this contribution from the Chief Minister Relief fund, he said adding the chief minister has expressed his deep condolence for the victims of the natural calamity in the mountain state.
The Haryana government has announced a Rs. 10-crore assistance to calamity-hit Uttarakhand.
"Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced to give Rs. 10 crore to Uttarakhand to help the state as a rescue and relief operation has been launched there following floods triggered by heavy rain," a state government spokesman said in Chandigarh.
A seven-member special team from Madhya Pradesh reached Dehradun to coordinate with Uttarakhand officials for relief and rescue operation for nearly 3,000 pilgrims of this state stranded in the rain ravaged hill state.
The decision to dispatch the special team, led by public relations minister Laxmikant Sharma, was taken by state chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday after visiting Haridwar and having a word with his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna, official sources said.
The team comprising officials and doctors will set up a control room for people from MP at Haridwar and extend all possible assistance to them for retuning home.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an assistance of Rs. five crore to the monsoon-ravaged Uttarakhand state where heavy rains and landslides have created havoc.
Chouhan's secretary, Hariranjan Rao will work in coordination with the State's Resident Commissioner in New Delhi, Shailendra Singh for relief measures, sources said.
Besides, the state disaster management body has also started an Emergency Control Room headed by District Commandant, Santosh Jat (Mob No. 09926769808 and Landline No 0755-2556422) for providing relief to the stranded persons.
About 300 Sikh pilgrims trapped around the famous pilgrimage Sri Hemkunt Sahib in Uttarakhand have been rescued even as efforts are underway to evacuate over 3,000 people of the community stranded in the hill state.
A special team of Punjab government is coordinating the ongoing rescue operation in the calamity-hit areas of Uttarakhand and ensuring the safe return of Sikh pilgrims, an official spokesman said on Thursday.
300 pilgrims were airlifted from Govind Dham on Wednesday, he said.
With hundreds of pilgrims from Punjab stranded near the Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib in the calamity-hit Uttarakhand, the Punjab government has hired a private helicopter to airlift them, a spokesman of the chief minister's Office said in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
He said the helicopter has been hired by the state government on the directions of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The helicopter will be pressed into service in coordination with authorities in Uttarakhand to rescue the stuck pilgrims from Punjab, said the spokesman.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah announced a contribution of Rs. five crore to the Uttarakhand government to provide relief to the flood affected victims in the state.
"It is our duty to help the pilgrims and people of Uttarakhand on humanitarian basis and hence my government has decided to donate Rs. five crore..." Siddaramaiah said.
Siddaramaiah, in a statement here, also said the government would spend Rs. 50 lakh to bring back the stranded pilgrims belonging to the state from Uttarakhand.
Karnataka government has sent a three-member team to Uttarakhand to ensure safety of people from the state stranded there due to floods.
"We are in constant touch with the Centre and Uttarakhand government to get information on safety of our people stranded in Uttarakhand," chief minister Siddaramaiah told reporters.
The government has also set up helplines to get information on Kannadigas going on pilgrimage and their whereabouts, Siddaramaiah said.
Moved by the plight of the people from Maharashtra stranded in flood-hit Uttarakhand, the state government Wednesday announced allocation of Rs.10 crore for their relief.
This amount would be utilized to arrange for helicopters, food, medicines and clothes and to bring them back to their home state, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said in Mumbai.
According to information available, at least 1,353 pilgrims and tourists from all over Maharashtra have been stranded in different parts of Uttarakhand and surrounding areas hit by the massive floods in the past couple of days.
Gujarat government has offered a financial assistance of Rs. 2 crore to rain-ravaged Uttarakhand for relief and rescue operations.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi spoke to his Uttarakhand counterpart Vijay Bahuguna and offered assistance and help in rescue and relief operations to overcome the situation.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit has announced a financial assistance of Rs. 10 crore for flood-affected people of Uttarakhand.
"We have decided to provide a financial aid of Rs. 10 crore to Uttarakhand to help the flood-affected people," Dikshit said.
Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh today announced an assistance of Rs. 5 crore to the flood ravaged Uttarakhand, where heavy rains and landslides have created havoc.
"Chief minister Raman Singh has announced to release Rs. 5 crore from the CM's relief fund to Uttrakhand government for the relief and rehabilitation of victims of the disaster," an official said in Raipur.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced an assistance of Rs. 5 crore for the victims of flood and rain in Uttarakand.
The state government said it was also taking all steps to bring back the tourists from Odisha who have been stranded in different pilgrim centres of water ravaged Uttarakhand.
“The resident commissioner of Odisha government in New Delhi is in touch with the Uttarakhand government enquiring about the safety of the pilgrim from our state,” state home secretary UN Behera said.
Mahindra & Mahindra Group
Mahindra & Mahindra Group announced a contribution of Rs. 1 crore to the Uttarakhand chief minister's Relief Fund to provide relief to flood affected victims in the state.
"We are shocked and grieved to learn of the unprecedented calamity and havoc created in Uttarakhand in the wake of the recent flash floods," Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said in a statement.
Other relief works
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh announced a separate Rs. 340 crore special package for Uttarakhand for constructing village roads in the flood-ravaged hill state.
In view of the calamity, the rural development ministry is also working for giving special assistance to Uttarakhand for constructing village houses under its ambitious Indira Awas Yojana (IAY).
The minister's decision came a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs. 1,000 crore special flood relief package to the state.
"Ministry of Rural Development is working on special road and housing package for Uttarkhand in view of calamity. Next week we are going to consider 82 roads and 27 bridges -- total 664 kms -- at a total cost of about Rs. 340 crores. This we will sanction next week," Ramesh said here.
This programme will be implemented in 18 months, he said.
The Supreme Court directed the Centre and Uttarakhand government to make all out efforts to rescue thousands of people stranded in the state due to flash floods and provide them food and drinking water.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi directed the governemnts to deploy sufficient number of helicopters to rescue flood-affected people in the area.
"We direct as an interim measure that all stranded people be provided immediate relief by the state and district authorities by giving them food, medicines and other essential things including fuel," the bench said.
It asked the Centre and National Disaster Management Authority to provide all required resources to the state governemnt.
Different political parties in Uttarakhand including the ruling Congress and BJP, have asked their workers to offer help to the district administration in supplying relief material to people affected by the natural calamity triggered by incessant rains in the state.
The Army and the Air Force have stepped up relief operations in flood-and landslide-affected areas of Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
An official release said the relief and rescue operation in the two states were the largest such operations undertaken in several decades.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has also deployed 3,000 of its personnel to clear roads in these states.
The release said Indian Air Forces's C-130 J aircraft was launched for reconnaissance as a part of "Operation Rahat" and 20 aircraft and helicopters were deployed for relief work.
Railways has decided to press services of special trains to rescue people stranded due to the flash floods at Haridwar, Rishikesh and other areas.
Railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge has instructed the Railway Board to do whatever possible to rescue people from the flood affected areas, said a senior railway ministry official.