Having witnessed the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, a group of 18 Mumbaiites returned to the warm comfort of their families on Thursday evening. For most, the escape was nothing less than miraculous, even as some complained of government apathy.
Dombivli resident Sunil Deshpande, 54, who had gone for the trip said that he considers himself lucky to have returned alive.
“The devastation was unbelievable. It was a terrible sight. We had never imagined we would get to see this while on a pilgrimage,” he said.
The other pilgrims, however, seemed unhappy with the help or the lack of it from the government of Maharashtra and Uttarakhand.
Jawahir Dawne, 65, from Vasai, who had gone for the trip with his wife, said, “We had heard that the Maharashtra government is taking steps to help people from the state. But we did not see any such thing at the spot. In fact, the Uttarakhand government, too, isn’t doing enough to rescue people stranded in the floods.”
Dawne’s group had started their journey with Kesari Travels from Mumbai on June 6 and had planned to return on June 19.
They visited the Kedarnath temple, but their journey to Badrinath was cut short by a landslide.
They spent two days and three nights in the bus, waiting for the road to be cleared.
“We were in the bus for more than 36 hours.
Our tour guides struggled hard to keep us safe,” he said.
“The nights were cold and there was not enough food for everyone,” said Virar resident Usha Patil, 39, who went on the Char Dham pilgrimage with her parents and 13-year old son Yayati.
Patil who is also a general physician helped people in the group with medicines for cough, cold and fever.