It has been over a month since nature’s fury wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand, killing hundreds and displacing thousands, but even today 25 devotees from the city still remain untraceable.
Panicked by the fact that the Uttarakhand government might declare them dead soon, kin of the missing persons have been visiting the state and initiating personal rescue operations to trace their loved ones.
Sahakar Nagar resident Abhishek Kamthe, who returned from Rishikesh a week ago, said he visited the Gaurikund-Ramwada area near Uttarkashi hoping that he might be able to trace his mother and a few other relatives.
Kamthe said there was a possibility that these 25 people might have taken shelter in isolated villages, up in the hills, during the floods. He said he had gone there with a few of his relatives and sought local help to accomplish the search operation.
“We offered money to the villagers, who know every nook and corner of the hills, and formed a team of eight people to initiate a personal rescue operation for our loved ones. They have gone missing from Kedar Vally, Pahiya Tal, Vasuki Tal and Vasuki river,” Kamthe said.
The missing 25 pilgrims were a part of the group that had left the city with Shivgauri travels on June 12, but failed to contact any of their relatives since June 16, after reaching Gaurikund and Kedarnath.
Pimpri-Chinchwad resident Anand Vedpathak, who visited Uttarakhand to check on the whereabouts of his parents, said the villagers informed him that they were seen last at Ramwada.
“Though the administration says that the search operation is on for the missing persons, we are completely clueless about their well being,” said Vedpathakv, adding that road construction work is on in the affected areas of Uttarakhand.
District Disaster Management Officer Vitthal Banawate said the missing devotees would not be declared dead and military would conduct the search operation. “We don’t have information of any recent development. Search operation is in progress,” Banawate said.