Carrying photographs, people are running from one hospital to other in Dehradun, in desperation to get some news about their relatives and friends as their patience ran thin due to passage of almost a week since the tragedy struck in Uttarakhand.
Family members and friends of those, who are stranded or missing in the hill state, have come to Dehradun and are desperately searching hospitals and camps to get some news about their loved ones. Another man alleged apathy on part of the government officials and said that “priority is being given to foreigners while Indians are 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 that 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. 2,500 people are stranded in Gourikund with my relatives and it’s impossible to evacuate them at the current rate as one chopper is bringing just 10-15 people at a time. 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 15th and that’s the time the rain started pouring in.”
“Till June 18, by the time 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 shocker to me,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ruling party Congress on Friday evaded queries about party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's absence at a time a major tragedy has struck Uttarakhand, saying the top leadership, including chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, were monitoring the relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit hill state. As the state of Uttarakhand lies ravaged by nature's fury, there are reports that the Chief Minister of the Congress ruled state Vijay Bahuguna could be flying to Switzerland next week.