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It was like a 'quake'

It was like a
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Telugu pilgrims recount harrowing tales Venkat Parsa New Delhi : A batch of Telugu pilgrims who reached AP Bhavan in New Delhi from Kedarnath in the...

Telugu pilgrims recount harrowing tales

Venkat Parsa

New Delhi : A batch of Telugu pilgrims who reached AP Bhavan in New Delhi from Kedarnath in the early hours of Thursday recalled their life and near death experiences during their yatra. They belonged to different places of Andhra Pradesh, like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Hyderabad. They had left for different destinations like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. While some pilgrims had managed to reach their destinations, some were stranded, en route.

Recounting their tales of woe and misery, the pilgrims recounted how they had stayed in a hotel on the way, felt a powerful quake and rushed out of the hotel only to see the hotel being washed away. They also recalled how they sat in the bus while another batch of tourists preferred to remain in the temple in the hope of safety. Suddenly, in a flash flood, the entire temple, with the pilgrims, were washed away in front of their eyes.

Yet another batch that moved on to a hill-top, in the hope of safety, got stranded there for four days. It is not known whether or not they have survived, given the biting chill, lack of food, power supply and any form of telephone contact. Some tour operators and bus drivers either fled or were washed away, as pilgrims were stranded.

ap piligrims in delhi

Telugus belonging to Koppal of Karnataka were also part of the group that arrived in AP Bhavan. They said the plan was to go to Yamunotri but could not proceed due to rain. But they could not return to their camps either and were compelled to remain in buses for three days. There were some more Telugu people from Karnataka in the buses behind them but they had no knowledge of what had happened to them.

One woman pilgrim who was in tears said they got stranded in some forest area. There was problem of food and hardly anything was available around for buying. Later a few things were available but they had to pay Rs 100 for each loaf of bread and a packet of biscuits.

They complained that when they had reached AP Bhavan at midnight on Wednesday they were permitted to go inside but no one was around to enquire about their wellbeing. It was only after the Union Minister of State for Railways Kotla Surya Prakash Reddy met them at around 10 in the morning that the Bhavan officials came to see them. Until then none had come to see them, the pilgrims told the Hans India.

Kotla met the pilgrims and offered to organise Railway medical teams for their treatment and to arrange food for all of them at the AP Bhavan Canteen, besides organizing their onward journey back home. When the Minister was busy organizing relief for the pilgrims, the officials of the AP Bhavan woke up to the situation and hurriedly organised food, medical assistance and accommodation.

Soon, VVIPs rushed to AP Bhavan to meet the pilgrims. Besides Kotla, other AP minister who visited the pilgrims at AP Bhavan was Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi, NDMA Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy and former APCC President D Srinivas. Sashidhar Reddy said there was no proper early warning system on weather conditions. When he had a meeting with concerned officials their information was only about one or two rains. He had now instructed them to see what measures could be taken to remove such deficiencies in a week's time.

Flood fury claims eight from AP Hyderabad: The flood fury in Uttarakhand has claimed the lives of eight pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh, according to reports reaching here. They included five of a family from Visakhapatnam, two from Guntur and one from Anantapur. Hundreds of pilgrims were still reported missing.

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