Uttarakhand: Rishikesh-Badrinath NH blocked due to landslide

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Over 1,800 travellers including pilgrims have been stranded after landslides hit a highway in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, officials said Saturday.

The Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway has been blocked near Vishnuprayag in Chamoli district following a landslide yesterday evening. The incident killed 5,000 pilgrims and stranded 22,000, in what was called the worst ever calamity to befall pilgrims undertaking the Char Dham yatra. "All pilgrims were only stranded and the road will be cleared by tonight", said S Venu Gopala Chary from Telangana Bhavan.

The Railway administration has made arrangements to bring them back to Maharashtra, Fadnavis said.

According to officials, the landslides drifted huge boulders from mountain, resulting in the blockade.

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Officials said, the pilgrimage has been temporarily stopped and the people - including women and children have been asked to take shelter at the major halts on the route. Earlier, Press Trust of India had reported that around 2,000 were stranded after a landslide in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has instructed Secretary Amit Negi to constantly monitor the situation.

Chief Minister Siddharamaiah has said that people from the State who are trapped in Uttarakhand will be rescued and all help will be offered to them. Meanwhile, Joshi refuted the reports claiming that around 15,000 people are stranded due to the landslide. The unofficial death toll, however, was pegged around 10,000 as many bodies were never found.

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