New Delhi/Dehradun, June 20 (ANI): Even as the various agencies, including army, ITBP and NDRF intensified their rescue and relief operations in most of the flood-affected areas, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari on Thursday lashed out at the Vijay Bahuguna Government in the state for not taking any lessons from the calamity that had hit the region last year.
"I feel that after such a mass level destruction in the state, we have failed at administrative level to provide relief to those stranded in the state. Secondly, we did not take any lesson from the last year's unfortunate incident where we had identified areas where a cloudburst could take place," Koshiyari told the media in New Delhi.
" Earlier, we had marked 233 villages, which were highly sensitive and could suffer sudden calamity. But the government did not pay any heed to those findings," he added.
Meanwhile, Nilesh Anand Bharne, the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Rudraprayag District, said all efforts are being made to help those stranded in the holy hills near Kedarnath.
"At the time of calamity, there were 1500 people stuck in Kedarnath. And as of now, nearly 1000 persons have been safely brought down to Guptkashi Phata. But 400 are still up there in Kedarnath," he said.
The rescue operations in Uttarakhand were stepped up today with additional IAF choppers being pressed into service.
The army has begun air evacuation of stranded and isolated civilians and pilgrims along Govindghat-Badrinath road and Ghagriya-Hemkund track.
Personnel of the Indian Army and ITBP have evacuated thousands of people in Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Tehri, Pithoragrh and Rudraprayag districts. Low visibility and bad weather have, however, affected the operations of helicopters at some places in Rudraprayag.
The death toll has shot to 150 with fears that it may go up substantially as large parts of the affected areas remained under water.
More than 10,000 people have so far been rescued in efforts led by the Army and the paramilitary forces. The men in uniform are continuing with the rescue operations against all odds.
The Uttarakhand Government has set up helpline numbers at Dehradun to provide information about flood-hit areas and people. The helpline numbers are 0135-2717300, 2716201, 2710925, 09411112985 and 09412054085. The Uttarakhand Government has also put up the names of people rescued from flood-hit areas on the state police website www.uttarakhandpolice.uk.gov.in. (ANI)