Uttarakhand: 27 killed as rain wreaks havoc
At least 27 were killed in separate incidents of landslide, cloudburst and flooding across Uttarakhand over the past 24 hours as heavy rains lashed several parts of the state, disaster management officials said on Saturday, amid warnings of more rains.
Seven people, including four of a family, were killed after heavy rains triggered a landslide in Dehradun's Rajpur area, flattening homes built along the slopes of a hillock early on Saturday.
Another 14 were killed by cloudbursts at four places in Pauri district on Friday. Yamkeswar and Lansdowne tehsils reported the remaining deaths.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the loss of lives in the state, where a mid-June deluge had wreaked havoc and killed more than 5,000 people, including pilgrims last year.
At several places, rescue teams were helping clear debris or evacuate stranded people. In Dehradun's landslide-hit Rajpur area, a woman was pulled out alive by rescue workers from under a mound of debris.
"All efforts are being made to mitigate the impact of disasters across the state. We are in touch with district administrations and rescue operations are in progress in every disaster affected area," said Bhaskaranand Joshi, secretary state department of disaster management.
"Victims and their dependents will be compensated as (per) government norms. The government is assessing the total loss occurred due to disaster in this monsoon".
Incessant rains and landslides at various places on the Mussoorie-Dehradun road have disrupted traffic. Reports said eight houses were completely damaged and another eight were partially damaged due to heavy landslides in the Chiffon Kot area of Mussoorie on Saturday.
This monsoon, 57 people have died in Uttarakhand since June 1.
Chardham pilgrimages not to be suspended
Although roads to Chardham — Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, Hemkunt Saheb and Yamonotri—shrines in Uttarakhand have been badly damaged and blocked at several places, the state government is not in favour of suspending the pilgrimage.
All the four national highways leading to the holy shrines are badly damaged and blocked at several places by massive landslides, officials said.
"Government cannot suspend pilgrimage. The debris cleaning work is on and it will be cleared subsequently." said State disaster management secretary Bhaskaranand Joshi.
"We are in touch with local administration and concerned district magistrates".
The state government has deployed Border Roads Organiastion (BRO) and the PWD for emergency repair work and clearing the debris, even as 94 Hindu pilgrims remained stranded at Badrinath Shrine area.
Officials said that some 121 Sikh pilgrims were also stranded at the Hemkund Saheb shrine, which was cut off from Rudrparayag district headquarter due to landslides at Pagalnala and Lambagar.