The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed both the Centre and Uttarakhand Government to step up their activities to rescue people stranded in the flood-ravaged hill state.
While hearing a PIL filed by advocate Ajay Bansal on the plight of pilgrims stranded in Uttarakhand due to heavy rains and flash floods, a Bench comprising Justice A K Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the government should take into consideration the suggestions to be submitted by the petitioner.
The Uttarakhand Government said evacuation of stranded pilgrims from Kedarnath, Jungle Chatti, Gaurikund, Ghagharia and Hemkund Sahib was near complete and that it has arranged for free transport of the people to their respective destinations.
Also `2,000 was being given to each of them to meet their expenses. Approximately 80,000 people have been evacuated by employing 1,522 buses and taxis so far. As many as 9,200 people were evacuated by the Indian Air Force and 152 tonnes of food material were made available or airdropped. Private operators hired by the state government made 1,200 sorties and about 5,000 people were airlifted. Around 9,000 people are still stranded at different places, Uttarakhand stated.
Of the 1,520 PWD/BRO roads that got damaged, 723 have been reconstructed and repaired. Evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims would be completed within the next 72 hours, provided the weather remained favourable. There is no shortage of food and other essential supplies in the disaster zone as 50,000 bottles of packaged water, 50,000 packets of biscuits and 45,000 ready-to-eat food packets have been made available, the state government informed.
The Centre, in its report, stated that 14 teams of National Disaster Response Force comprising 449 personnel have been deployed for assisting the state government in search and rescue operations. Around 10,000 personnel from the Army and 1,200 ITBP personnel were also deployed. By June 23, a total of 96,500 people were evacuated by all the agencies to safe places. About 80 per cent of telecommunication facilities have been restored, the Centre added.