Punjab hires pvt helicopter to rescue pilgrims
The Punjab government and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Wednesday hired one helicopter each to evacuate pilgrims stranded at Ghagria base camp near Gobind Dham on the way to the Hemkund Sahib shrine in Uttarakhand.chandigarh Updated: Jun 19, 2013 21:59 IST
The Punjab government and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) on Wednesday hired one helicopter each to evacuate pilgrims stranded at Ghagria base camp near Gobind Dham on the way to the Hemkund Sahib shrine in Uttarakhand.
The Mandakini river, flowing along the path to Hemkund Sahib from Gobind Dham and Gobind Ghat, has become inundated due to heavy rainfall in the catchment area. Flash floods in the river have also done considerable damage to property at Gobind Dham.
The helicopters were pressed into action on Wednesday evening. As per reports, about 4,000 pilgrims are stranded between Gobind Ghat and Gobind Dham, which is at a height of 10,000 ft above sea level, and a large number of them are facing health problems. Most of the pilgrims are form Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
After being evacuated, the pilgrims would be shifted to Joshi Math. A team of the DSGMC, including president Manjit Singh GK, and other office-bearers are leaving for Uttarakhand to supervise rescue operations.
A spokesperson for the Punjab government said CM Parkash Singh Badal had constituted a team led by special secretary-level officer KS Pannu and DIG Khubi Ram, assisted by other police officers, which had already left for Dehradun to set up a control room to supervise rescue operations.
The teams of the state government and the DGSMC would also visit Joshi Math and Hemkund Sahib to coordinate the operations. A number of other government agencies are already working to rescue the pilgrims. Punjab chief secretary Rakesh Singh is keeping constant liaison with the Uttarakhand administration.
To bring back pilgrims, the DSGMC has pressed into service about one dozen buses. The buses would take pilgrims to their respective native states. Staff of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has also reached the places where pilgrims are stranded and started offering langar and medicines.
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