54 trekkers stranded in snowfall rescued in Rudraprayag

Dehradun: All the 54 tourists, mostly trekkers from Mumbai, who were stranded in the high altitudes of Rudraprayag district in Uttarakhand have been rescued and sent back to their homes, top officials said on Thursday.

The state disaster response force (SDRF) and police had launched a rescue operation at Chobata, Baniyakund and other high altitude areas in the district after reports that many people were stranded in the heavy snowfall since Tuesday. Rudraprayag has experienced the heaviest snowfall in 25 years during the past two days.

“Since most of the roads were covered with heavy snow, we pressed snow cutters to rescue these people,” said Mangesh Ghildiyal, District Magistrate Rudraprayag. The SDRF and police personnel trekked miles together to provide help to the stranded people.

He said as many as 36 people mostly students from Mumbai, who had come for trekking in the area were rescued on Thursday in the day long operation. Nearly 18 people were rescued on Wednesday, he said. Some of the tourists who were stranded in the area had come from Delhi and Rajasthan areas.

Meanwhile, the district authorities in the hilly areas have closed most of the trekking areas for tourists and trekkers. “Till the situation improves, tourists will not be allowed to go there,” said a government official.

Two foreign tourists who were on the way to Doditaal area in Uttarkashi district for trekking were asked to come back on Thursday as the inclement weather conditions coupled with snowfall continued to play spoilsport. “We have closed the Doditaal trek for tourists,” said a top official of Uttarkashi district.

Meanwhile, the district authorities claimed that most of the link roads have been opened on Thursday. “I think only road to Chobata is closed now,” said Ghildiyal.