Heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in several parts of Uttarakhand, claiming the lives of 15 people since Saturday, and causing landslides and road-blockades, affecting the movement of people, especially Char Dham pilgrims.
More than 200 roads in several districts have been blocked and many rivers were flowing close to the danger mark even as a number of places got a respite from heavy showers.
Haridwar police recovered the bodies of three youths on Monday. Two of them had drowned on Sunday in a rivulet while one had been swept away on Monday, they said.
In another incident, a bank official, Ramkrishna Johri (31) was killed in Uttarkashi district after a boulder fell on his car. In Kumaon region, a labourer working with sand traders was killed after he was hit by a stone-like object in Gola river, injuring his head severely.
Several Char Dham pilgrims were stranded at many places on Monday morning, but were able to move after the national highway was cleared of debris, according to reports.
The trek route to Kedarnath is open beyond Sonprayag whereas helicopter services to the shrine have been suspended. However, the last stretch of Badrinath Yatra from Joshimath onwards is often punctuated with landslide at Lambagar and Kanchanjanga, which is a potential threat to the safety of the people and vehicles.
Major rivers of the state – Ganga, Kosi, Gomti, Ramganga, Sharda – are flowing close to the danger mark and have created flood-like situation in the plains of Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh.
Chief minister Harish Rawat said officials have been instructed to monitor the situation and make arrangements to shift affected people immediately to safer places.
Chandra Shekhar Bhatt, district magistrate of Pauri Garhwal, told HT that people living on the banks of the river have been put on high alert, and orders have been issued to the concerned departments to clear the roads immediately.
(With inputs from Arvind Moudgil, MS Nawaz)