Rescue operations resume after brief suspension due to rain  

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Dehradun, June 23: After a brief suspension due to bad weather early in the morning, the rescue operations in rain- hit Uttarakhand resumed today on a war footing to evacuate 22,000 pilgrims still stranded in high altitude areas amid a MeT department warning of light to moderate rains in the region from tomorrow.

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.

Rescue Ops

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, adding that in view of the MeT department warning of light to moderate rains at places, rescue efforts have been stepped up.

With a number of breached roads now repaired, evacuation process is likely to be quickened as many stranded pilgrims are now being shifted to safer locations through road routes as well, they 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.

PTI

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