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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Stranded pilgrims fleeced, forced to buy food at high rates

PTI  Dehradun, June 22, 2013
First Published: 13:15 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 13:48 IST(22/6/2013)

Shocking tales of human apathy to the sufferings of Uttarakhand flood victims have come to the fore with some stranded people forced to pay Rs. 250 for a 'paratha' and Rs. 100 for a small pack of chips.

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56-year-old flood victim and Dehradun local Manohar Lal Mauriya, who has been rescued and admitted to the Doon Hospital in Dehradun, said the exploitation of distraught travellers has saddened him.

"I had to pay Rs. 40 for a small bowl of rice. There was no food available anywhere," Mauriya, who saw his taxi being washed by the swirling flood waters, said.

Amit Gupta of Baghpat UP, who spoke to his relatives stranded in Gaumukh, said they had to pay Rs. 400 for two small packets of chips and two bottles of water.

Having survived the tragedy, the stranded persons, many of whom are left with little money and belongings, are finding it difficult to buy food and water for themselves.

A stranded Sikh tourist complained that some locals were exploiting their helplessness.

"Taxi drivers are demanding Rs. 3000-4000 for a journey that would normally cost Rs. 1000. All our money has been exhausted. We are helpless," the tourist said.

Another tourist waiting at the railway station said they are paying through the nose to buy food.

"Shopkeepers are selling a paratha for Rs. 250 and a water bottle for Rs. 200. It is terrible".

Ramesh from Udaipur, whose parents are stranded in a flood-hit area, said they are finding it hard to buy food and water as the locals were demanding an exorbitant amount for the same.

72-year-old Shyam Sunder Sharma from Phagwara said there were no arrangements in the camp in Harshil for food and medicines. Authorities are making efforts to rush food packets amid reports that hundreds of survivors did not get anything to eat for days.


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