VISAKHAPATNAM: The unprecedented floods in Uttarakhand that caused large-scale devastation last year, seem to have returned this year too and are sending shivers down the spine of family members of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who are stranded in Uttarakhand. Despite assurances from the officials of both the governments that they are all safe, there is heightened anxiety among the families who could not reach their dear ones directly. The news that they cannot move for the next couple of days is only adding to their worry.
As many as 32 members from both the states, including 10 of a single family, are learnt to have got stranded at Badrinath and are taking shelter at Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy Ashram in the temple town. “My family members had their darshan Wednesday and were scheduled to reach Delhi the following day. But they could not reach the National Capital till date. Adding to the problem, their cellphones are also not reachable,” said S Urmila, who has been spending anxious moments at her residence in Balanagar of Hyderabad for the last two days.
In all, 10 members of Urmila’s family are stranded at Badrinath due to the heavy rain lashing across Uttarakhand. Except for Urmila and her husband, all other family members visited her sister who is residing in Delhi recently and had decided to visit Badrinath to fulfill the wish of their parents.
“My parents, three sisters and their husbands along with our aunt and another relative left for Badrinath this week and had the darshan Wednesday. They were all scheduled to reach Delhi Thursday but instead, we saw the news channels flashing the reports of rains and floods at Badrinath,” Urmila said. It was not until they could speak to one of the pilgrims from Vijayawada who were on the Char Dham Yatra, that Urmila was relieved.
Though the devotees are said to be safe and arrangements have been made for their food and stay at the Ashram, their plight is no less troublesome. There is no power supply and telecommunications have also been disturbed. “Due to incessant rain, our families are worried despite our assurances that we are safe. Many of us could not recharge the cellphones so we could not contact our family members. We are using the cellphones only for emergency calls,” Haribabu, a pilgrim from Rajahmundry told Express.
According to Haribabu, 32 pilgrims from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are stranded at the Chinna Jeeyar Swamy Ashram in Badrinath. Though he could not talk for long over the telephone due to low battery, he said that all the people are from Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, and Avanigadda in Andhra Pradesh and Mahabubnagar and Rangareddy districts in Telangana. AP and Telangana governments are making necessary arrangements for their safe return.
Among the key routes that are blocked due to rain and landslides include the National Highway connecting Kedar valley, the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway and the road connecting Kedarnath and Gaurikund.
STRANDED BUT SAFE
As many as 32 pilgrims from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are stranded at Badrinanth
The devotees hail from Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, Machilipatnam and Avanigadda in Andhra Pradesh, and also Mahbubnagar and Rangareddy districts in Telangana
Though they are safe, devotees are facing problems due to power cuts and are unable to access outside world following damage to the telecommunications network
Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu directs the officials to rush to the spot and ensure that the devotees reach home safely