statesman news service
KOLKATA, 22 JUNE: A total of 128 tourists from Bengal were rescued today from landslide-hit parts of Himachal Pradesh.
So far, 230 tourists have already returned to the state. Officials of the state disaster management department said the number of stranded tourists from Bengal may be higher.   
Two trekking teams from Uttarpara in Hooghly who had gone missing have been rescued. 
The state statistics and programme implementation minister, Mr Rachpal Singh, and transport minister Madan Mitra today reached Haridwar camp to monitor the safe passage of tourists.   
Many tourists reportedly escaped uphill into the jungles during the flood but later failed to find their way back since all roads had been washed away.
Some 50 para commandos have been deployed in various areas of Pindari glacier for rescue work. Officials apprehended the situation might turn worse with the meteorological office predicting heavy rainfall in the region from 25 June.    
In view of all roads linking Badrinath to Joshimath being cut off, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBF) has undertaken efforts to come up with an alternative route to link the two spots. The Kanchan nala, located between Badrinath and Joshimath, has flooded the entire area so ITBF is trying to come up with a new connecting route, said an official. 
The state government recently released Rs 20 lakh to bring home the stranded tourists from Uttarakhand by trains and flights. The assistance was given from the government’s Rs 20-crore contingency fund. The contingency fund is utilised for providing relief during such disasters outside Bengal. 
Meanwhile, three members of a family from Khardah have been missing for five days in Uttarakhand. Their family are worried about their safety. They haven’t been able to contact them.
Mr Biswajit Mukherjee (50), his wife Mrs Chandana Mukherjee, and their son son Mr Barnik Mukherjee (23) left for Haridwar on 12 June. On 13 June they reached Hardwar, and informed Mr Murali Bhattacharya, a relative, of their arrival.
Mr Bhattacharya said the Mukherjees called him up when they reached Haridwar and told him they had decided to walk to Gouri Kunda and then move to Kedar-Badri on 15 June. But after that they lost contact with the trio. Their phones were switched off.
The worried family had sent a letter to the government seeking help, but they haven’t received any support, Mr Bhattacharya said.
Mr Ajay Mukherjee and Mr Puspal Bhattacharya have decided to leave for Haridwar to try and find their missing family.