Uttarakhand: Char Dham Yatra halted; Ramdev among many stranded

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Dehradun, July 16: The annual Hindu pilgrimage of Char Dham that takes devouts to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath shrines was halted on Wednesday following heavy rain in Uttarakhand, officials said.

There are reports that many devotees including Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev have been stranded near Gangotri river, due to heavy rains.

According to the India Today report, Ramdev is stranded along with 450 students from Acharyakulam as the road to Uttarkashi has caved-in.

The Uttarakhand DGP has saaid that if anything happens to the students, then the legal action will be initiated against Ramdev as he went ahead with his programme despite

As many as 300 pilgrims undertaking the Char Dham yatra are reported trapped in Joshimath area en route to Badrinath and efforts are being made to ensure their safety.

The Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway (NH) and the road connecting Kedarnath-Gaurikund have also been blocked following heavy downpour and landslides since Tuesday.

Officials said a state of high alert for heavy rain was sounded in time and devotees were evacuated to safety.

A bridge constructed over the Saraswati river near Kalimath in Rudraprayag was washed away on late Tuesday, after which 164 devotees returning from Kedarnath were stranded and have taken refuge in a government camp.

This bridge was constructed last year after another bridge on the river was washed away in the flash floods of June 16-17 last year. Mandakini and Alaknanda rivers are in spate and have breached the danger level marks.

Heavy to very heavy rains have been forecast for most parts of the hill state and weather officials say there will be no respite from rains for the next three days.

"There is no danger to anyone in that area but as a matter of abundant precaution, we have halted the Char Dham Yatra till the rains stop," an official of the state disaster management told IANS.

People in many areas adjacent to the rivers have also been asked to leave their houses and move to safety.

Thousands of people were killed last year when heavy rain and flash floods devastated Uttarakhand. While most bridges and roads to the Char Dham shrines were destroyed, arterial roads to many villages were also washed away or severely damaged.

Even after passage of over a year, not much has been done to restore the routes.

OneIndia News

(With IANS inputs)

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