Authorities on Saturday reopened the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway which was earlier closed due to a landslide near Vishnuprayag, one of the five confluences of Alaknanda river, between Joshimath and Badrinath, the famous pilgrim spot in the hill state. With the reopening of the highway, authorities allowed movement of light vehicles, while the stranded cars with passengers were made to cross area of landslide with the police escort, ANI reported. Earlier, Press Trust of India had reported that around 2,000 were stranded after a landslide in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. The report said that huge boulders had rolled down the Hathi Pahar mountain on Friday afternoon blocking the highway. Following the development, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had directed the Secretary of Disaster Management Department, Amit Negi, to monitor the situation. Ashish Joshi, Chamoli District Magistrate, told PTI that around 2,000 people were affected due to the landslide.
Most of the people were reportedly stranded at different places in Vishnuprayag, Pandukeshwar and Govindghat. An official said that arrangements for food and lodging have been made for the stranded people. The report said that Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel have been working on a war footing to clear the debris since yesterday afternoon, and according to senior officials the highway will be reopened for traffic soon. Meanwhile, Joshi refuted the reports claiming that around 15,000 people are stranded due to the landslide. The official said that “Only 2,000 people have been affected.”
Rescue work continues after a landslide hits Rishikesh-Badrinath highway. 800 people have resumed their journey: http://t.co/pGPIaBXF8B pic.twitter.com/r1JNH4HNaS
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Taking note of the situation, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had informed that altogether 179 pilgrims from Maharashtra are among those stranded at various places in Uttarakhand. “All of them (pilgrims) are safe. We have ascertained it. Of the total 179 from Maharashtra who are stranded there, 102 are from Aurangabad and 38 from Pune,” he said.