Dehradun: The Char Dham Yatra to Badrinath got disrupted on Friday afternoon after a massive landslide occurred at Hathi Parvat, near Vishnuprayag, about 9 km from Joshimath in Chamoli district. About 13,500 tourists are stuck, according to preliminary estimates.
Incidentally, the debris brought down by the landslide affected almost 150 meters of area and also damaged 60 meters of Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway. However, no pilgrim sustained any injuries in the landslide.
“Border Roads Organization (BRO) and police personnel are at the spot and trying to manage the situation. We are trying to ensure that debris is cleared and traffic movement is restored soon,” said Tripti Bhatt, Superintendent of Police (SP) Chamoli. However, BRO officials, who were at the spot, told TOI that it was a big landslide and it would take at least two days to clear the debris from Badrinath highway.
In 2015, about 300 pilgrims from Odisha were stranded in the area following series of landslides and heavy rainfall. “Big boulders have rolled down from the mountain along with huge flow of debris. Looking at the amount of debris lying on the road, we are going to take at least two days to open the road and make a bypass for vehicles to move from both sides,” said colonel Rama Subramanian, BRO Commandar.
In order to clear the debris at earliest, BRO has pressed into service one excavator machine, two pockland machines and one compressor machine at the spot. “Two more excavator machines are on their way and would join the operation by late evening,” said Colonel PH Sharma, Public Relation Officer (PRO) of BRO.
A BRO official told TOI that least 150 vehicles were stranded on both sides of affected area. “Around 50 vehicles, which were coming down, were stranded while about 100 vehicles on their way to Badrinath got stranded at Hathi Pahad,” said Colonel Rama Subramanian. SP Chamoli said that she has informed the police at Badrinath to stop the downward movement of any vehicle from the shrine till the road gets open.