After IMD warning, Uttarakhand CM appeals to halt Char Dham yatra for next 3 days

The IMD has also issued a red alert with a forecast of heavy to very heavy rain in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Nainital and Champawat districts.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday spoke to chief secretary SS Sandhu on the steps being taken by the administration regarding the IMD warning and directed the police, state disaster response force (SDRF) and other agencies concerned to be on alert. (ANI PHOTO.)
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday spoke to chief secretary SS Sandhu on the steps being taken by the administration regarding the IMD warning and directed the police, state disaster response force (SDRF) and other agencies concerned to be on alert. (ANI PHOTO.)
Published on Oct 17, 2021 09:56 PM IST
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Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Sunday directed the authorities concerned to remain on alert and appealed to people so that they do not undertake the Char Dham Yatra amid warnings of heavy to very heavy rainfall in the state from October 17-19.

His directions came after the Dehradun Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an orange alert for Sunday forecasting heavy to very heavy rain in isolated places in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand along with moderate thunderstorms accompanied with lightning and hail.

For October 18, it had issued a red alert with a forecast of heavy to very heavy rainfall at many places and extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Almora, Nainital, Champawat, Dehradun, Tehri and Pauri Garhwal districts. It also predicted moderate to severe thunderstorms with lightning and hail.

The IMD has also issued a red alert with a forecast of heavy to very heavy rain in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar, Nainital and Champawat districts.

Amid the weather warnings, CM Dhami on Sunday spoke to chief secretary SS Sandhu on the steps being taken by the administration regarding the IMD warning and directed the police, state disaster response force (SDRF) and other agencies concerned to be on alert.

“The agencies should be prepared to respond to any emergency arising out of the weather change. Response time should be less as much as possible with immediate relief for the affected people,” said Dhami.

He also directed the authorities to specially focus on the Char Dham Yatra route.

“Special care should be taken of the Char Dham pilgrims. I appeal to the pilgrims not to take the pilgrimage in the next two days as the route is expected to witness extremely heavy rain, especially in the hilly areas. On Sunday morning, there were about 16,000 pilgrims at Kedarnath shrine. I spoke to the Rudraprayag district magistrate to quickly enable the pilgrims to offer their prayers and leave the shrine for their lodgings due to heavy rain,” he said.

The CM will later hold a meeting with the minister of disaster management Dhan Singh Rawat and other officials concerned on the preparations of the agencies to handle any emergency situation on October 18 and 19.

The state police has appealed to the pilgrims of Char Dham Yatra to stay put where they are at present.

“I appeal to the people to not travel in the hilly areas and stay where they are due to warning of heavy rainfall. Also, travelling in the hills is not safe as they often witness landslides and flash floods during heavy rain,” said Inspector General Amit Sinha who is the chief spokesperson of police headquarters.

Earlier on Sunday morning, director general of police, Uttarakhand, Ashok Kumar visited the Kedarnath shrine during which he briefed the police personnel deployed there to ensure proper security arrangements and help the pilgrims in any emergency situation.

SDRF Commandant Navneet Singh also directed all 29 teams across the state to be on high alert.

“We have put out 29 SDRF teams based across the state to be on high alert so as to respond to any emergency situation. The SDRF control room has also been asked to be on high alert,” said Singh.

Schools to remain closed in Nainital and Almora district

Nainital and Almora district administrations have issued an order for the closure of schools on Monday in their respective districts due to heavy rain forecast.

The Champawat district police have also issued an advisory to commuters to avoid travelling from Sunday to Tuesday as rough weather may cause landslides on roads especially on the national highway from Tanakpur to Pithoragarh. It has advised to travel only if it is “urgent”, otherwise avoid travelling on the national highway.

The pilgrimage to the Purnagiri shrine in the district has also been banned till October 19 due to the weather warning.

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Monday, December 06, 2021