More than 40 policemen, who were duty near the Kedarnath shrine, are missing as incessant rains continued to batter Uttarakhand. Only five of the 50 missing policemen have been traced so far.
10 choppers have been deployed by the Indian Air Force in Uttarakhand where around 73,000 people including thousands of pilgrims are stranded. Two choppers ferried about 200 stranded pilgrims from the high altitude Kedarnath shrine to Fata helipad in Rudraprayag district today. (See pics
Chopper services were launched on a war footing with no fresh spell of rain in the morning at most places in the Uttarakhand, an official said.
Bodies of three ITBP jawans and two police constables were also recovered from the debris at Kedarnath, official sources said, adding these casualties occurred yesterday.
Two IAF helicopters and two private helicopters have been sent into the Chamoli district where a huge number of pilgrims are still stranded.
The private choppers have been hired to distribute food and other essential commodities to people stranded in Pulna and Bundar villages en route to Hemkund Sahib.
State Health Minister Yashpal Arya visited the affected areas in Uttarkashi and assured people that more choppers were being asked for from the State Tourism Minister Amrita Rawat for relief and rescue operations in the district which is one of the worst hit.
Apart from choppers, JCB dozers may also be utilised to shift stranded pilgrims to safe places, he said.