Admitting that there has been a lack of coordination between government agencies engaged in rescue work in Uttarakhand, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde today said operations are underway on a war footing to evacuate about 40,000 pilgrims still stranded.
Shinde, who arrived here today to review rescue operations in the wake of the tragedy, termed the deluge as a "national crisis" and set a three-day deadline to the agencies engaged in evacuation work to complete the process.
He said steps are being taken up on a war footing to rescue those stranded despite bad weather hampering operations by security forces.
Talking to reporters soon after a review meeting held with CM and senior government officials at the secretariat here, Shinde said footbridges are being built between Gaurikund to Kedranath and Pandukeshwar to Badrinath to rescue stranded pilgrims.
Those stuck in Junglechatti area being provided immediate relief by the security forces on a priority.
Admitting there has been a "lack of coordination between government agencies engaged in rescue operations," the Home Minister said Disaster management expert V K Duggal will be stationed here to oversee and coordinate rescue efforts.
He said the Centre is keeping an eye on rescue efforts but made it clear that it is a natural calamity and not a man-made disaster.
Shinde said some of the bodies recovered from different places are badly mutilated making it difficult to identify them and added that the DNA of the victims will be preserved.