The monsoon rains continued to lash Uttarakhand for the third consecutive day on Friday. Amid warning of moderate to heavy rains in the next 48 hours, the Rudraprayag district administration has suspended Kedarnath Yatra till July 20. The district magistrate (DM) said the Kedarnath route has been cleared off pilgrims. Although five saints staying at base camp Lincholi has refused to move downwards.
"Since 16th we have moved all pilgrims from Kedarnath. Eight pilgrims, five of them saints are staying at Lincholi, the base camp of Kedarnath. Rest three pilgrims (Kanwarais) moved today but saints are reluctant" Raghav Langhar, DM Rudraprayag informed HT over phone. He claimed two month ration stock was available at base camps of Kedarnath.
Meanwhile the incessant rains have affected normal life in the Kedar valley. The Rishikesh-Kedarnath highway was blocked at three places – Banswara, Kalimath and Sirobagar. The Rudraprayag district administration has advised pilgrims not to proceed towards Kedarnath till Sunday. The Alaknanda and Mandakini rivers in the district are flowing close to the danger mark.
The neighbouring Uttarkashi district is also witnessing incessant rains since Wednesday. On Friday, Uttarkashi town received 22 mm of rainfall. The Rishikesh-Gangotri highway was blocked at 6 places. The Border Roads Organistaion was working for opening the highway. There was no information available till the filing of this report on the number of pilgrims who had visited Gangotri and Yamnotri shrines. However on Thursday 39 pilgrims visited Gangotri and 78 visited Yamnotri.
The Bhagirathi River in Uttarkashi was flowing just two meters below the danger mark. The district magistrate claimed that officials were keeping close vigil on the rising water level. He apprised HT over phone that administration has moved people from Valmilki Basti – which is located close to the banks of Bhagirathi.
"We have made a back plan in case there is some need to evacuate people" told C Ravishankar, DM Uttarkashi.
An official note from state government claimed none of the pilgrims were stranded at Char Dham shrines besides Hemkunt Sahib – the revered Sikh shrine.