Chardham Yatra suspended, warning of heavy rains

Chardham Yatra suspended, warning of heavy rainsDEHRADUN: With the MeT department warning of heavy showers at various places in Uttarakhand today and major rivers in spate, the Chardham Yatra has been suspended even as the Centre decided to provide two Mi-17 helicopters to the state to deal with any emergency.

While yatra to Kedarnath and Badrinath was earlier suspended till today, the pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri which was going on in a low key manner despite the warning was finally halted last evening for the safety of pilgrims.

With yatra to Gangotri and Yamunotri also halted, the entire Chardham pilgrimage stands suspended for the time being, Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Sharma said, adding it will resume only when the weather clears up.

The Centre has, meanwhile, agreed to the state’s demand for two Mi-17 choppers which will remain stationed here till July 25 to operate in case of an emergency.

The demand was put forward to the Centre last evening when Union Cabinet Secretary Ajeet Sethi took stock of the situation prevailing in the state through video conferencing in view of MeT department’s prediction of heavy rain in some parts of the state today and tomorrow.

Though most rivers in the state are in spate they are still flowing below the danger mark and the situation as of now is far from alarming, Sharma said.

Due to heavy rains over the past few days, routes are obstructed at 20 places between Rudraprayag and Sonprayag but no pilgrim is stuck at any destination, he said.

173 pilgrims stranded in Kedar Valley yesterday have been moved to safe destinations. 13 ‘Kanwariyas’ have also been shifted to safer destinations from Lincholi by a team of State Disaster Response Force. Heavy rains have lashed the Kumaon region in the past 24 hours with Nainital recording a maximum of 152 MM of rainfall followed by Haldwani which received 150 MM of showers, Champavat 72 MM, Kashipur 64 MM, Ranikhet 45 MM and Almora 44 MM.

Rudraprayag (17.3 MM), Uttarkashi (22MM), Chamoli (12 MM) and Dehradun (19.5MM) have received rains in a moderate degree.

All the major rivers including Mandakini and Alaknanda are in spate and people living close to their banks have been asked to evacuate to safer places as a precautionary measure by the administration.

Private and government-run schools in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts have also been closed till Monday.

According to a bulletin issued by the Central Water Commission’s Himalayan Ganga Division, Alaknanda at Badrinath is flowing at 3111.54 meters while the danger mark is 31113 meters.

Ganga is flowing at 338.42 meters in Rishikesh whereas the danger mark is 340.

5 meters.

Ganga in Haridwar is flowing at 291.85 meters which is 1.15 meters down the danger level at 293 meters, it said.

Mandakini at Rudraprayag is flowing at 621.8 meters while the danger level is pegged at 625 meters.–PTI

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