Several city residents leave for Uttarakhand in search of kin

Somnath’s aged relatives Mukund and Anita Vedpathak, along with his aunt Shalini Tarkasband last made contact with him from Gaurikund. Dissatisfied over the assistance received from the administration, Vedpathak’s brother left for Uttarakhand a week ago to search for them.

Hope floats: Relatives of pilgrims, who are still missing in Uttarakhand, display photos of their loved ones at the District Collectors office. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Several other city residents like Somanth are also dismayed with the lack of cooperation by the district administration and the state government in tracing their family members who are still missing in Uttrakhand. With almost a week passing by since they last made communication with their missing kith and kin, several relatives have left for Uttarakhand in search of their loved ones.

The missing pilgrims were part of the group, who had gone on their journey of faith with city-based Shivgauri travels. The had left the city on June 12, and 27 devotees from the group have not been in touch with their relatives since June 16 after reaching Gaurikund and Kedarnath. The anguished relatives said the administration is least bothered about the plight of the city’s residents.

Sahakar Nagar resident Abhishek Kamthe who is currently staying at a rescue centre in Rishikesh told MiD DAY over phone that the people waiting to meet their relatives do not have any idea whether the rescue operations are still ongoing. Kamthe reached Rishikesh around four days ago in search of his mother and other relatives who are still missing, after they last made contact on June 22 from Kedarnath. “I would like to request the concerned authorities to continue their search operations for couple of days,” said Kamthe.

Meanwhile, donning the hat of a good samaritan, Advocate Shashikant Potale, whose stranded relatives have returned from Gaurikund, is now resorting to help others whose relatives are still untraceable. “Narayan and Janabai Dalvi’s son had gone to Rishikesh in a search of his parents, and informed us that his parents name was in the list of rescued people, but they haven’t come home yet,” said Potale.

District Disaster Management Officer, Vitthal Banawate, however, refuted all allegations made by the relatives, stating that the relatives of the missing people do not intimate the administration after tracing the pilgrims. “We are in constant touch with the Uttrakhand government officials and are sending the lists of missing pilgrims to them. However, it is also the duty of the relatives to contact us after their relatives have returned, which they are not doing,” said Banawate.  

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