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Minor landslides in Uttarakhand again, thousands to be cremated today

Kedarnath, June 24 (): As expected, air rescue operations have been stuck in parts of Uttarakhand following bad weather with two minor landslides taking place today between Rudraprayag and Guptakashi road causing immense problems for rescue workers.

Further landslides and flooding in the districts can be a real threat, said army officials adding that ground operations are however in process. Reports claim that two minor landslides have occurred today between Rudraprayag and Guptakashi road and another one was reported from the Rishikesh- Uttarkashi route, said the officials. Rescue workers are battling to carry out the remaining operation as bulldozers have been put into service to clear the route.

Army says it could possibly evacuate another 4,500 people from Badrinath including pilgrims, locals and temple employees. The army is waiting for the weather to improve and once it improves will speed up the air operations, said Ajay Chadha,DG,ITBP.

Director of meteorological department Anand Sharma was quoted saying medium range of 30-40 mm of rains is expected in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Rudraprayag areas. As soon as the sky clears up, rescue choppers will start carrying out rescue operations, said Mr Sharma.

Meanwhile, the temple town of Kedarnath is likely to witness the cremation of thousands of bodies today that lay in and around the temple. Officials declared further delay in the funeral of the bodies might lead to their decomposing. Authorities confirmed that before performing last rites, DNA samples would be taken and bodies would be photographed.

50 tonnes of wood and a large quantity of  desi ghee have been arranged to conduct the heart-rending last rites, said officials of the Garhwal administration adding that ‘Van Nigam’ and other agencies have been informed to collect as much fire wood and logs and  arrange cans of ghee from the open market.

As soon as the weather clears, funeral will take place today and all concerned authorities have been informed to make arrangements, said a senior official from the state government.