Patna/New Delhi/Dehradun, June 25 (ANI): Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Tuesday said almost all the people stranded in the Kedarnath Valley have been rescued, and added that the situation is not so grim there now.
Shinde, however, said that the evacuation and rescue operations in the flood-hit state had been stalled due to rough weather and consistent rains.
"It is still raining in Uttarakhand and it is difficult for the helicopters to fly in those regions. In Badrinath, we have gathered everyone in a safety camp, where food and drinking water is available," he told the media in Patna.
Meanwhile, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Director General (DG) Ajay Chadha said that around 60 people were still stranded in Kedarnath, and added that they are mostly priests or porters.
"Once the weather improves, we will able to get them out. And in Badrinath also, we are not taking out people because the weather is not conducive. We do not want people to slip or get injured in the evacuation process. Once the weather stabilizes, we will move them by roads as well as by sorties," he told the media in New Delhi.
After heavy rain overnight and this morning, the weather has now improved in Uttarakhand paving way for the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters to fly and evacuate over 6,000 people who are still stranded in different parts of the state. Many of them are now in temporary relief camps with access to food and water.
The army, ITBP and NDRF today concentrated its evacuation operation by air mainly at Badrinath, Gangotri valley and Pithoragarh district of the state. Most of the pilgrims are stranded in these regions.
Helicopters have started sorties from Sahastradhara helipad and Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun and other helipads and airbases across the affected districts to evacuate the pilgrims.
About 800 people were yesterday evacuated on foot using makeshift bridges across swollen rivers. Over 1000 people were also airlifted from parts where the rain was not heavy enough to ground military helicopters. (ANI)