Scores of Telugus missing in U'khand

Scores of Telugus missing in U
Highlights

Five from Vizag City, two from Guntur district and one from Anantapur district perish * Victims' families...

Five from Vizag City, two from Guntur district and one from Anantapur district perish

* Victims' families demand that bodies be sent home * 13 of missing people hail from Kamareddy town in Nizamabad district alone * The whereabouts of 10 missing from Gudivada still not known

Hyderabad: At least eight pilgrims from various parts of the state died and scores of others reported missing in Uttarakhand due to floods and landslides. According to information available, five persons from Visakhapatnam city, two persons from Guntur district and one person from Anantapur districts died. Several persons were reported missing, as there was no information from them in the last one week in Guntur district, Anantapur district and Nizamabad district. In Nizamabad district, the whereabouts of 13 pilgrims from Kamareddy area were not known and reported missing.

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In the Visakhapatnam city, five of the pilgrims including a woman from one family, were among those who died in the monsoon fury that wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand according to information received here on Thursday. Three members of another family were missing, according to one of their family member Devanraj. He said that a 15-member-team left for Kedarnath pilgrimage on June 9 and they were in touch till Saturday night when they were informed that they came to Rampur check-post. "Today morning my cousin, Keerthi Pujitha conveyed on a mobile phone of another team from Vijayawada that five of the team died and three were missing. She said that they were being shifted to Dehradun shortly."

The dead included K Adilakshmi, K Narayana Rao, K Sitarama Swami (both businessmen), K Rama Rao, a Naval Dockyard employee and K Shyam Prasad, employee of LPG Plant of HPCL. The three missing were identified as D Kameswari, B Surya Prakash Rao and Ratna and they belong to Hyderabad, Devanraj said.

Minister Ganta visits victims' house Meanwhile, Minister for Ports and Investments Ganta Srinivasa Rao visited the victims' residence on Thursday evening and consoled the family members who were dumb struck with grief. After he was apprised of the plight of the pilgrimage, he assured that both State and Central governments were taking necessary steps to protect the pilgrims.

Later, the Minister told reporters that as per the Helpline information so far, as many as 450 persons from the district were on the pilgrimage to Kedarnath. He said a senior IAS Officer Sanjeev Kumar, deputed by the State government as a Special Officer, has left for Dehradun. He said the Union Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi, who also planned to visit the area, already spoke to the Chief Minister and urged him to step up rescue operations to save pilgrims from the state.

Guntur: According to the information received here by the families of the pilgrims on Thursday, two women, Malleswari (50) of Duggirala and Krishna Kumari (40) of Munnangi were washed away in the floodwaters near Kedarnath. According to the pilgrims, their batch consisting of 40 members were stranded at Kedarnath and while others were safe, two members were washed away in the gushing floodwaters before their own eyes and they were helpless.

Guravaiah Gupta of Amaravathi village said there was no information after June 15 from his father Pulla Rao (63) and mother Bharathi (55) and expressed apprehensions about their safety. He said they spoke to him on June 15 and later there was no information.

Anantapur: One of the 20 pilgrims batch that went to Kedarnath died according to information received here on Thursday. The travel operator informed the family that Jangam Veerabhadra Swamy of Gadehothur village in Vajrakarur mandal in the Anantapur district. Vactims mother Vanamma, crying consolable, as he was elder of her two sons, appealed to the state government to bring back his dead body to the village.

Nizamabad: According to information available here, 18 pilgrims were stranded in Uttarakhand. Of them the whereabouts and safety of only five people were available. One of the pilgrims, Kokkada Ravinder said from Dehradun on phone that five of them were safe and the whereabouts of five others from their batch from Kamareddy was not known to them. Ravinder said wife of Muralidhar, Gangamani, Govind Bhaskar and his wife Vijaya were safe along with him. Those whose whereabouts were not known included, Durga Prasad, Rambabu, Vani and Sushila, all from Kamareddy. In Bodhan, two couple, Prakash Gupta, his wife Varalakshmi and Srinivas and his wife Manjula were out of touch with their relatives. Raju, son of Prakash Gupta was worried about their safety.

Vijayawada: The fate ten persons reported missing on Wednesday were not traced even on Thursday. Their relatives said there was no communication from them. The families of the missing persons feel miserable as did not have any information about their whereabouts.

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'I am Never going to Uttarakhand again'

New Delhi (IANS): Chenntali, 50, keeps stretching her legs and arms. She cannot get enough of being able to move them -- for two days, she was crammed in a small room with 30 others near Uttarkashi in flood-hit Uttarakhand. She is one of 28 pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh who arrived in the national capital late Wednesday, after being stranded for four days in Uttarkashi.

"It is scary: No food, no water and no toilet. We were stuck for four days, and two of those days were spent in a static bus. For two days, we were in a small room in which 30 people were crammed. We feared we might suffocate to death," Chenntali told IANS. The group of 28, from different parts of Andhra Pradesh, were housed at the Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in the capital Thursday. "Never more do I want to go to Uttarakhand.

It was a horrible experience. All I could see was water. A road caved in, right in front of my eyes," a woman in her 40s said. "We had no medical aid, no toilets," she said. M Venkateswar Rao, in his 50s, thanks God that he is still alive. "We are alive by God's grace. We were on pilgrimage, but we could not go to Yamunotri," he says. Officials at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan said another group of 125 people was expected to arrive, in two batches. "All I want to do is go back to my village in Guntur. We have to get railway tickets," a tired, 53-year-old Ramakrishna said.

"These people will get food and medicine here, and we are in touch with the state government about them. We will also be arranging tickets for their return," Kovuuri Ganapathi Reddy, officer on special duty at the Andhra Pradesh Information Centre Bhavan told IANS. Meanwhile, BJP leaders M. Venkaiah Naidu and Prakash Javadekar visited the people sheltering at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan and assured them all possible help.

pilgrims' info trickles in; kin, relatives on the edge

Hyderabad: The information about the dead pilgrims in Char Dham area, either Telugus or others, may take quite some time to reach their family members or the outside world. It may come to light in bits and pieces through other pilgrims who witnessed the happenings and are reaching back to Dehradun and New Delhi or informing the families of the missing/dead over telephones, but not from the authorities in a consolidated manner. Still worse, not immediately.

One of the officials involved in the relief work explained the reasons for this intriguing situation to The Hans India over telephone. According to him the entire task of rescuing the stranded people is taken over by the Defence personnel. Since the government of Uttarakhand simply does not have the wherewithal to conduct operations of such gigantic scale spread over thousands of square kilo metres in Himalayas they are merely assisting the Army. And the Defence personnel are giving top priority to save those who are stranded and alive, and understandably so.

On Thursday the Army pressed into service 22 helicopters none of which carried dead bodies even though they were found. Even information about such bodies is not consolidated and put out. With the result that there is no way of knowing for anybody anything what bodies lie where in the hills and valleys and the huge patches of mud. It may be known eventually only after the rescuing operations are over. That too, if such bodies were found at surface levels either over mountains or in valleys and other such places. But if they were buried under the huge mounds of mud and debris, or got just washed away in the floods, such information may never be known, according to the official. In these circumstances, various authorities are being tight-lipped on the subject of missing persons and the dead.

146 pilgrims from Krishna district caught in floods

Some are safe, others yet to be traced

Vijayawada: Relatives of several dozens of pilgrims who went to Uttarakhand and were stranded in the floods are spending their hours in tension as the whereabouts of their dear ones are yet to be established. According to unofficial assessment, about 19 persons from Thotlavalluru mandal, 30 from Gudivada area, five from Mandavalli, 22 from Vijayawada area, 15 from Nandigama area, five from Penuganchiprolu, two families from Kanchikacharla, 18 from Kankipadu and several others were trapped in the floods.

However, the district officials claim that they have received information that around 146 persons from the district were trapped in different places in Uttarakhand area. The pilgrims from Penuganchiprolu have reportedly contacted their relatives and told them that they were trapped at about 18 kilometers away from Uttara Kasi. Similarly, the pilgrims from Kanchikacharla too have passed on the information to their relatives about their safety and their plans to travel to New Delhi in the next two days from where they would return home. The revenue officials from Vijayawada have also received information about the safety of the pilgrims from Devarapalli, Changantipadu and Iluru. It is said that out of the 19 member team, 13 were together at one place, while the rest were in two different places.

The pilgrims from the Gudivada area too have reportedly passed on the information of their safety to the revenue officials through their relatives. Out of the 35 members, more than 15 fell sick as they had no food and drinking water for the last two days. Meanwhile, the revenue officials are collecting information from every village about the pilgrims who had gone to Uttarakhand. The district officials have directed the village secretaries to make house to house visit and collect information from every village about the pilgrims and prepare list. The officials said that the village secretaries were furnishing the information while some of the pilgrims were contacting their revenue officials directly.

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500 more Telugus to reach Delhi today

* 153 were back on Thursday and leave for state * Authorities depute two more teams to Haridwar

Hyderabad: In addition to the 153 Telugu pilgrims who had reached New Delhi on Thursday, as per a Press release issued by the AP Bhavan authorities during the day, about another 500 were expected by Friday morning. According to officials involved in the relief operations, Janakiram Travels of Vijayawada, with 84 people, had started off from the marooned areas for New Delhi and will reach by Friday morning. And Sai Travels agency of Kakinada is carrying another 100 pilgrims in three buses back home via New Delhi. This apart, about 300 more who had already reached Dehradun from Hrishikesh, Uttarkashi and locations were readying to travel back any moment.

The officials from Dehradun told this paper that the rescuing operations were fast picking up and the Army had pressed into service more helicopters and personnel. However, they were not in a position to give any information regarding the missing and the dead. That was the position even about those from the other states. The position of 'no information' was not intentional but the difficult conditions prevailing in the area were the reason behind it, they explained.

The AP Bhavan press note said that their team based at Haridwar had dispatched a bus with 59 people to New Delhi. Out of them 4 ( V V Ramana Mahesh, Ramesh, Praveen and Mohan) belonged to Anantapur. Naresh Reddy to Hyderabad and54 to Nellore. They arrived in Delhi in the early hours of Thursday and were provided with free food, medicines etc. They reportedly walked up to 120 kms from Seetapur and Rampur to Rishikesh.

Another group of 60 people hailing from Vijayawada and Nellore were to reach AP Bhavan any moment in early hours of the night. Two of the members of that group were Balakrishna (mobile 08143133233) and Srinivasa Rao (09390908866). A third group of 34 pilgrims from West Godavari had left for state on their own. Onewoman from this batch, suffering with paralysis was said to be in the City Hospital in Haridwar. The note said they had received more than 350 calls till Thursday evening from the families of the pilgrims making enquiries. The Resident Commissioner Shashank Goel was in touch with travel and tour operators to seek their vehicles if needed.

He also deputed two more teams of officials to go to Haridwar for relief work. They were Guruvaiah (09818506643) and K Prakash (09810730367) in one team and G Krishna (09971215683) and Janaki Rao (09818582176) in the second team. These teams are in addition to the two that were already there in Dehradun for the last two days.

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