Uttarakhand flood: Railways running special trains, revalidating expired tickets

Published: 24th June 2013 07:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2013 07:32 AM   |  A+A-

Kedarnath_PTI

Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand Subhash Kumar has informed that 400 people were airlifted on Sunday from Badrinath, while 500 others are being evacuated by road.

“On Sunday, we managed to rescue 1,200 people from Guptkashi and approximately 390 people from Gaurikund. A combined rescue team will conduct a combing operation in Kedarnath valley on Monday to make sure that nobody has been left behind,” Kumar said.

Kumar said despite the floods and landslides ravaging in three districts of the state, the water supply schemes of Chamoli in Badrinath, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat, Ghanghria, Joshimath, Gopeshwar, Karnaprayag and Gauchar have been temporarily restored. In Rudraprayag, the damaged water supply schemes of Rudraprayag town, Fata, Agasthmuni, Rampur, Seetapur and Ukhimath have been restored successfully. He said the state government has posted 150 doctors in the affected areas for immediate medical attention to the injured and 75 imported satellite phones are being used by agencies to establish communication in far-flung areas.

The state officials said it is difficult to ascertain the exact toll at the moment as debris in many places could not be cleared.

“There could be more in the coming days. The search is still going on in the affected areas and it may take some time to ascertain the numbers because the rescue teams have such a large area to cover,” they said.

The state government is providing each evacuated person with `2,000 in cash for any exigencies.

Arrangements have been made for free railway tickets for the pilgrims to go back home along with a provision of two extra railway coaches in regular trains.

Meanwhile, Border Road Organisation (BRO) is working in the flood-affected areas to clear the debris and build damaged roads. The BRO deployed more than 95 excavators and bulldozers and approximately 4,000 of its personnel and labourers are working day and night in the priority areas in Rudraprayag-Gaurikund axis and Govindghat-Badrinath axis.

A wooden footbridge and 300-m foot track across hard rock have been built and at least 300 pilgrims and 2,000 mules rescued from Gaurikund. In the Joshimath-Badrinath axis, the construction of a foot track is under progress and a readymade footbridge is being launched across river Alaknanda. It is expected that after completion of these, the stranded passengers from Badrinath may be rescued by the land route.

The Railways have been running special trains from Haridwar and Dehradun to evacuate people free of charge.

The Railways said it was revalidating even the expired tickets to help passengers reach their destinations. “Special arrangements have been made at these stations to refund the fare against the tickets of flood-affected passengers.

“To refund the fare against of such tickets at these stations the rules have been relaxed so that affected passengers may get refund against their tickets or revalidate those tickets for undertaking their journey to their destination on the same ticket,” a Railways statement said.

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