Heavy rains in Uttarakhand trigger landslides, resulting in five tragic deaths including two bikers from Hyderabad

Rescue operations continue as heavy rains cause widespread disruption and fatalities in the mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.
The two bike-borne pilgrims from Hyderabad were returning after visiting Badrinath Dham.
The two bike-borne pilgrims from Hyderabad were returning after visiting Badrinath Dham. Express

DEHRADUN: Relentless heavy rainfall in the mountainous regions of Uttarakhand has triggered catastrophic conditions, causing landslides and road closures and resulting in the tragic loss of five lives, including two bikers from Hyderabad.

The two bike-borne pilgrims from Hyderabad were returning after visiting Badrinath Dham. The tragedy took place when a huge boulder suddenly fell from the hill along the road near Badrinath National Highway, which struck them.

District Disaster Management Officer Nand Kishore Joshi told TNIE, "The SDRF team received information in the morning that two men riding a motorcycle were hit by a boulder that fell from the mountain near Chhatwapipal". Soon after, a team of SDRF led by Sub-Inspector Manmohan Singh reached the spot. Both the youths in the said vehicle were returning towards Rishikesh after visiting Badrinath Dham and suddenly came under the boulder and were buried along with the vehicle.

"The SDRF team reached the spot and took immediate action with the help of rescue equipment and took out the boulder and took out the bodies of both buried below and handed it over to the district police", said DDMO Joshi. The deceased were identified as Nirmal Shahi (36) and Satyanarayan (50).

In another tragic accident in the Tilwada area of Rudraprayag, a Max vehicle plummeted 200 meters into a deep gorge, resulting in the death of two people on the spot. According to Additional Sub-Inspector Harish Bangari of the SDRF team, three injured individuals have been hospitalised.

In yet another tragic incident, a woman was swept away by a swollen river in the Banbasa area of Tanakpur on Friday night. The victim, identified as Shanti Devi (52), a resident of Thelagaun, Banbasa, was crossing the river when she lost her balance and was carried away by the strong current. A search operation was launched by the SDRF team on Friday night, but it was suspended due to darkness and high water levels. The search operation resumed on Saturday, and the team recovered the woman's body, which was later handed over to the district police.

Heavy rainfall over the past five days has triggered landslides, blocking 115 roads across the state, including the crucial Badrinath-Gangotri highway. The Badrinath highway remained closed for 10 hours, causing inconvenience to pilgrims and tourists.

According to sources at the District Disaster Management Office (DDMO), Chamoli, the continuous rainfall has also damaged the Gomukh-Tapovan track, forcing authorities to impose an indefinite ban on tourist movement to Gomukh.

The DDMO sources further revealed, "Heavy rainfall across the state has caused landslides blocking NH Yamunotri near Dabarkot and the Gangotri National Highway near Helgugad". Intermittent rainfall in the Yamuna Valley, particularly around Yamunotri Dham since Friday evening, has led to multiple closures along the Yamunotri highway.

A bridge collapse on the Ramnagar-Ranikhet road in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand has severed connectivity between the two towns, leaving scores of vehicles stranded on both sides. The bridge over the Panyali stream, situated near Mohan, succumbed to the fury of the swollen watercourse on Saturday, following incessant rainfall in the hills over the past few days.

The relentless downpour has caused rivers and streams to overflow, weakening the foundation of the Panyali bridge. The structure developed cracks and tilted precariously before collapsing. In the wake of the incident, the administration halted vehicular movement on both sides of the bridge, leading to lengthy queues of stranded vehicles.

Authorities are working to establish alternative routes to facilitate the movement of people to their destinations as the region grapples with the aftermath of the bridge collapse.

In view of the intense monsoon season, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Saturday directed officials to remain on high alert, 24/7, to ensure effective disaster management. He instructed them to stock adequate food, medicine, and relief materials in hilly districts, considering the rainfall forecast.

The Chief Minister held a high-level meeting at his residence, where he reviewed the situation with Garhwal Commissioner Vinay Shankar Pandey and Kumaon Commissioner Deepak Rawat, who joined virtually. He directed the commissioners to regularly review the conditions of roads, drinking water, electricity, and drainage systems in their respective divisions.

An Alliance Air flight from Delhi to Dehradun was diverted back to Delhi on Saturday due to poor weather conditions. The flight, originally scheduled to land at Dehradun Airport at 8:45 am, had to return to Delhi after reaching the Dehradun skies because of unfavourable weather conditions.

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