115 Andhra pilgrims still missing in Uttarakhand

Hyderabad, June 28 (IANS) Over 100 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh are still missing in flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand, officials here said Friday.

Officials of the disaster management department said out of 2,785 pilgrims who went to the hill state, 1,879 returned safely while another 778 have informed their families that they are safe. 13 pilgrims have died.

Commissioner (Disaster Management) T. Radha said the missing pilgrims include 38 from Hyderabad and 35 from Ranga Reddy district.

The number of missing people was 284 on Wednesday but during last two days, over 150 of them contacted their relatives to convey that they are safe.

The state government has arranged two special aircraft to bring back the stranded pilgrims from Uttarakhand. While one aircraft will leave Dehra Dun for Hyderabad at 11.15 p.m. Friday, the second will depart at 5.45 p.m. Saturday.

The government so far arranged two aircraft while the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chartered three aircraft to bring the pilgrims.

TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who returned to Hyderabad from Dehra Dun along with the pilgrims in a special aircraft, told reporters Friday that whatever he and his party did was out of human compassion and not for politics or to claim credit.

Naidu said the government failed in its duty to come to the rescue of the stranded pilgrims and make proper arrangements for their return.

The former chief minister said it was painful to see pilgrims lying on the floor at AP Bhavan in New Delhi without accommodation, food and medical assistance by the government.

Naidu said besides arranging three aircrafts, TDP issued air tickets to other pilgrims for reaching Hyderabad through scheduled commercial flights.


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