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Heavy rains create havoc in U'Khand, Chardham Yatra suspended

PTI 04 Aug 2012, 14:19:48 IST
Dehra Dun, Aug 4 :Three jawans of fire services were among six persons killed as torrential rains continued to pound Uttarakhand today triggering landslides and flash floods which flattened homes and stranded hundreds of pilgrims with the Chardham Yatra coming to a grinding halt. 

The Garhwal region bore the brunt of nature's fury with the government sounding a high alert in the state after the met department's warning of very heavy rains.  

Two children were killed in a house collapse at Kararnprayag area of Chamoli district early today, said sources in the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre (DMMC) here.

Another child was washed away in the flash floods at Pokhri area of the district where landslides continue to hit blocking highways leading to Badrinath.  Hundreds of Badrinath pilgrims were stranded at various places at Patalganga, Lambagar and Birahi due to fresh landslips.

In Uttarkashi district, flash floods hit several low lying areas creating havoc in the district.  

At least three jawans of the fire brigade department were killed at Gangori area even as Chardham yatra to Gangotri and Yamunotri remained suspended for the second day today.  In Gangori area of Uttarkashi, Bhagirathi is flowing above the danger level with people being evacuated to safer areas.

Nearly 30 homes were washed away in the floods with the Gangori bridge also collapsing.

“We have now reports that three jawans of the fire brigade were killed in Gangori,” said state disaster management minister Yashpal Arya.  The yatra for Kedarnath shrine was also suspended, the sources said.

Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was monitoring the situation and has asked the concerned authorities to launch rescue and relief operation in the disaster-hit areas.  Bahuguna has asked concerned officers to reopen roads leading to the pilgrim shrines so that the stranded pilgrims can go home.

He has also asked the special Chardham cell set up at the secretariat to send him a daily report regarding the situation in the Garhwal region.

The state government would provide food and other essential items to the stranded pilgrims, he said.  Landslides are common in fragile hills of Garhwal region.

Last year, the government had suspended the Chardham Yatra to Gangotri and Badrinath shrines following heavy landslides and torrential rains for nearly one week.

A Jammu report says, as many as 22 people were today trapped in flash floods in Jammu region, prompting the authorities to sound an alert in the region.

“A flash flood alert has been sounded in Jammu. Due to heavy overnight rains, various rivers in Jammu region are flooded...22 people and large number of cattle are trapped in the flash floods in Ujh and Tawi rivers,” an official said. 

Of the 22 people, 15 are trapped in Ujh river at Khadwal area in Kathua district and two each in Mayachak, Nagri, Sujanal (Satwari) and Muthi areas, he said. 

A rescue operation has been launched for those trapped in the flash floods, triggered by intermittent overnight rains in Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur districts, the official said. 

The water level in Chenab, Tawi, Ujh and Basantar rivers are nearing the danger mark, officials said, adding that people living in low-lying areas have been alerted and warned of flash floods. They have also been asked to keep away from banks of the flooded rivers.