112 pilgrims from Pune stranded in Kedarnath

“My relatives left for the Kedarnath yatra on June 11, but since the last three days there was no communication from them. Today, I had a brief conversation with them over the telephone, but my anxiety has risen after speaking to them, as they said that they are stranded and authorities haven’t provided any relief to them yet. We were under the impression that the administration was providing food and other aid. Now, anguish has set in after hearing of their dismal situation,” said Hadapsar resident Gaurav Tupe. 22 of his family members are huddled at Gaurikund in Uttarakhand, which according to aerial surveys has borne the brunt of the monsoon fury.

With thousands of people reported missing following the devastating floods after incessant rains lashed the state since Friday, the collectorate yesterday released figures stating that over 100 pilgrims from the city are visiting the temple town of Kedarnath.

The information was procured by the district administration after contacting five city tour operators.

Anand Vedpathak, another city resident whose five relatives are making their journey of faith to Kedarnath, said, “After receiving a call from my relatives today, we are now more worried, after hearing of their predicament. They have not got any help from any one. They are stranded at a place, which is about 1.5 kilometres from Gaurikund on the way to Kedarnath.”

“We are not getting any help from the police commissioner or the Collector. When we met the police commissioner, he told us to register a complaint with the local police station after which they will forward it to the concerned authorities,” said S S Potale, an advocate by profession whose mother and father are stranded near Gaurikund.

Saurabh Kulkarni, son of the proprietor of Shivgauri Tour and Travels, which organised a trip for a group of 70 people from the city to Kedaranth, said, “My father is also stuck. There is no way to communicate with them due to network problems and, moreover, most of their mobile phone batteries are dead.” The group left on June 11 and 12 and were supposed to return back on June 26.

“We have a list of 112 people who are stuck in Kedarnath and other nearby areas. Around five travel agencies have contacted us regarding the same.

20 pilgrims headed to Kedarnath, who booked a tour with Girikand Travels, have informed that they are safe after finding accommodation at an ashram. We are in the process of compiling an exact list of people and will send it to the Mantralaya. We are also trying to get in touch with the sub-divisional magistrate to inform him about the exact location of the stranded people,” said V Banote, disaster management officer.  

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