Chandigarh, June 21, 2013 (YP Bureau)
The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today received the pilgrims from Kedarnath, Badrinath and Sri Hemkunt Sahib who were rescued from Uttrakhand and brought back at ISBT, Sector-43 here in the Punjab State buses.
Mr. Badal described the scourge of floods in Uttarakhand as a National tragedy and assured full and immediate help from the state government to all those affected by nature’s fury regardless of their respective states or their destination of pilgrimage. He called upon the Centre to extend immediate and liberal assistance to affected states in the task of rehabilitation.
The official sources of Uttrakhand Government has informed the Chief Minister that bridge on the route between Gobindghat and Joshimath has been opened to bring back people to Joshimath from where they would further be brought to Rishikesh.
The State Government has pressed in 100 Mini Buses for the smooth plying of pilgrims from Joshimath to Rishikesh and 150 Big Buses have been deputed at Rishikesh for bringing these people back to Punjab.
While interacting with a large batch of pilgrims arrived at Chandigarh, Mr. Badal expressed concern over the hardships they faced in these days. The Chief Minister inquired about their well-being and also consoled them. He assured them that State government was in constant touch with the Uttarakhand government and providing all sort of assistance for rescue operations.
He said that full and fearsome range and magnitude of the tragedy would be known only after relief operations are over. But relief is needed at an unprecedented scale for rescue and rehabilitation of thousands and thousands of beleaguered people said, Mr. Badal.
Mr. Badal was talking to media persons after personally overseeing relief and travel arrangements today at ISBT, Sector 43 here, when he immediately rushed there just after landing at Chandigarh Airport.
Mr. Badal further said that on his directions, the State Government had requested the Ministry of Defence to arrange for MI-17 helicopters on the state expense and put them on the disposal of Uttrakhand Government alongwith State's private helicopter already there with Uttrakhand Government to press into the rescue operations.
He hoped that all the pilgrims would soon be brought back to their homes safe and sound. He prayed the Almighty for the safety of all the people who were still stranded in Uttarakhand. However, he mentioned that the main objective of the Punjab government at this critical hour was to expedite the rescue operation so that all the pilgrims stuck at Gobind Dham and other nearby places must be airlifted to safe places and further be brought back to their homes safely.
It was also informed that another team of officers including two IAS officers had been sent to Rishikesh to coordinate travel arrangements of pilgrims from Rishikesh to various destinations in the State. A team has been deputed at ISBT, Sector-43 for all necessary arrangement to ensure each pilgrim's safe return to their native places through Taxis at Government expense.