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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

4,800 pilgrims from Punjab evacuated, claims govt

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, June 23, 2013
First Published: 22:47 IST(23/6/2013) | Last Updated: 11:32 IST(24/6/2013)

The Punjab government has claimed that it rescued nearly 4,800 pilgrims from the state, who were stuck at religious shrines in Uttarakhand after June 26 incident of cloudburst in Chamoli distict.

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The government claimed that it had evacuated all pilgrims from Gobind Ghat and Gobind Dham gurdwaras on way to Hemkunt Sahib.

The Punjab government pressed into service 95 mini-buses to ferry pilgrims from Joshimath, 18 km downstream of Gobind Ghat, to Punjab. The government said there was none from Punjab at Joshimath. More than three-dozen buses have been kept on standby at Rishikesh to be sent to places in the higher reaches, if required. 

Two platoons of the Punjab police commandos, who are trained in mountaineering and led by a DIG-level official, and a medical team has been sent to Hemkunt Sahib and Badrinath temple to evacuate stranded pilgrims, if any.

DSGMC asked to start 'langar' at Badrinath
On the direction of the army, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has started 'langar' (community kitchen) at Badrinath temple that suffered devastation on the night of June 16 after cloudburst.

The DSGMC has sent a team with two truckloads of ration to Badrinath. DSGMC president Manjit Singh GK, who is camping in Dehradun to supervise rescue operations, is expected to travel to Badrinath on Monday. The DSGMC is already offering 'langar' at Gaucher, Joshimath and Srinagar.

"We are ready to offer food to pilgrims wherever the Uttarakhand government wants," Singh said, adding that many pilgrims from Karnataka and Bihar were brought to safer places with the help of the DSGMC.

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