press trust of india
DEHRADUN, 22 JUNE: Carrying photographs, people are running from one hospital to another in desperation to get some news about their relatives and friends as their patience gradually runs thin due to the passage of almost a week since tragedy struck Uttarakhand.
Family members and friends of those, who are stranded or missing in the hill state, have come here and are desperately searching hospitals and camps for news about their loved ones.
They are also condemning the “total absence” of sensitivity on the part of the administration.
“I have come from Delhi in search of my parents and one of our relatives. I last spoke to them on 15 June, since then I have no news,” said a man whose family had come for Kedarnath pilgrimage.
Another man alleged the apathy of the government officials and said “priority is being given to foreigners while Indians are being left behind to die”. “My children have been stranded there for the last eight days without food and water. They are borrowing phones to call us, but we are helpless. Authorities are doing nothing, foreigners are being given priority in rescue and relief work while Indians are being left behind to die of hunger,” he said. “No Uttarakhand officials or any public representatives have reached here. No credible information has been given to us by anyone or from anywhere,” he added.
Another youth whose relatives are stranded in Gourikund said his relatives told him that around 2,500 people are stuck there with them.
“I can’t understand why, despite unprecedented devastation, the tragedy has not been declared a national calamity so far. It’s impossible to evacuate the 2,500 people at the current rate as one chopper can carry just 10-15 people at a time. The government should press in more helicopters immediately,” he said.
Sharan, who along with his family was rescued from Badrinath and brought to Chamouli relief camp yesterday, said: “The situation is pathetic. Had the Army not been there we had no chance of coming back ever. I reached there on the 15th and that’s the time the rain started pouring in.”
“Till the 18th, by the time the Army stepped in, we had no information. We were told that roads will be cleared in two days but the Army came and told us that roads cannot be cleared for 30 days at least. That came as a shock,” he said.
BJP calls off anti-corruption agitation
NEW DELHI, 22 JUNE: In view of the disaster in Uttarakhand that has left a trail of death and devastation in the hill state, the BJP has again postponed its proposed nationwide ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’. The party had earlier postponed its ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation against UPA’s “corrupt practices”, which was proposed to be undertaken between 27 May-2 June, to 17 June-30 June in the wake of the Naxalite attack in Chhattisgarh in which many Congressmen were killed. BJP president Rajnath Singh said he has directed partymen across the country to concentrate on relief of the flood victims in Uttarakhand instead of focusing on the agitation, which was to take place between 17 and 30 June. Mr Singh, who visited the flood-affected areas yesterday, said the BJP considered the calamity a national disaster and has asked all its units across the country to contribute for flood relief and rehabilitation. Mr Singh said the party will also set up a disaster relief fund. pti