New Delhi/Guptkashi: Days after monsoon ravaged hill state of Uttarakhand, sources have indicated there could be more than 500 bodies rotting in the remote areas of Kedarnath valley. People in the areas that remained inaccessible to Indian Armed Forces perished either out of hunger or illness.
Sources have indicated most of the dead bodies were seen in and around Junglechetti and Rambada in the Kedarnath valley.
The priest of holy Kedarnath shrine depicted the horror and the ordeal that as many as 1,000 pilgrims witnessed inside the temple. He said, “A glacier broke and carried down an entire mountain range with it. When the pilgrims and I heard the noise, we ran into the temple and the water and rubble entered with us. The entire temple started shaking and we thought we would die.”
The hellish rains have turned Kedarnath into a ghost town. Though the outer structure of the temple seems intact, there are bodies piled up outside its gate. Kedarnath shrine, one of the holiest of Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, and other buildings are seen damaged.
Rescue operation begin after brief hiatus
Air rescue operations resumed after a brief suspension due to bad weather on Sunday morning to evacuate over 22,000 stranded people in flood-hit Uttarakhand even as ITBP jawans began constructing foot tracks to speed up the evacuation work.
The evacuation exercise has been stepped up in view of the MeT department warning of light to moderate rains in the region from Monday, officials said.
ITBP DIG Amit Prasad told reporters at Gauchar that foot tracks are being built in an area of about 50 kms near Badrinath to evacuate stranded pilgrims. “This is being done to reduce our dependence on weather, which may hamper air rescue operations. These roads are being built in Mana outpost near the shrine. About 200 ITBP jawans are engaged in the exercise,” he said.
About 70,000 pilgrims have been evacuated so far from the worst-hit Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts where the famous Himalayan shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are located.
Over 40 choppers and 10,000 army and paramilitary personnel are engaged in the rescue operations following one of the worst calamities that hit the hill state last week.
Moderate rains in Dehradun and Joshimath delayed start of rescue operations early this morning but they resumed as the weather cleared up after about an hour, official sources said.
Meanwhile, the Centre is working on a long-term plan for the reconstruction of the extensively damaged areas in rain-hit Uttarakhand, Congress leader Ambika Soni said on Sunday.