Rudraprayag, June 20 ():Rain storm and landslips caused due to the wrath of monsoon left eight more dead on Wednesday taking the death toll in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to 138 even after 2700 devotees including local people were rescued by the official at Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts.
Situation still remained tense in some areas in Uttarakhand, though flood water was cleared in most of the areas enabling the rescue personnel to carry out the operation with much ease. Rescue operation is likely to gather speed after the weather has slightly improved on Wednesday and more than 3,000 troops have been put to service in the state to carry out the rescue operation of more than thousands, said DG Ajay Chadha . However, in Badrinath shrine twelve thousand pilgrims were still said to be stranded.
Authorities said that as the weather has improved, many stranded devotees will be rescued by Wednesday evening. The officials were first keen to evacuate people to safer places than recovering the bodies of the dead. One state chopper and two IAF helicopters were put to service to carry out the operation in Kinnaur district and the adjoining area of Spiti.
More than 140 people were rescued from Sangla Valley and Rekong Peo. Helicopter sorties were pressed into service to carry out the operation in Pooh and Kaza also. Many people including a team of Doordarshan and some media people were said to be stranded at Pooh and efforts were taken to bring them also. Though officials declared that the exact number of people stranded was not clear priority was given to tourists, aged and ailing people.
More than 300 people who took shelter inside the Kedarnath t temple survived the devastated rain, while 20 temple staff and others present in the boundaries of the temple are believed missing, said Kedar-Badri Temple Committee chief Ganesh Godiyal.
So far, flash floods and landslips have claimed 138 lives in Northern India where thousands were also said to be displaced.