Helipads being built to speed up rescue in Uttarakhand

Helipads being built to speed up rescue in UttarakhandNew Delhi, June 21 - With thousands of people still stranded in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, the rescue teams are focusing on evacuating people stuck in the jungles between Kedarnath and Gaurikund and more helipads were being built, said ITBP chief Ajay Chadha Friday.

Addressing a press conference, Chadha said the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the National Disaster Response Force teams were trying to set up a small helipad in Rambada, near Kedarnath, to enable choppers to land and evacuate people.

"We are trying to evacuate people and trying to create a helipad to help people stuck in the jungles in Kedarnath and Gaurikund," Chadha said at a press conference.

The rescue teams were trying to create more roads to evacuate people as roads have been washed away, he added.

Asked if the authorities were trying to press in more choppers to evacuate people, Chadha said the helipads being used were small and it was difficult for more than one or two choppers to land at a time.

He said the army authorities are trying to create a big helipad at Gaurikund to enable the big MI-17 choppers to land.

He termed the rescue operations, which have picked up with the weather clearing, as "satisfactory".

Chadha visited Uttarakhand along with senior home ministry officials Wednesday.

According to officials, around 150 people have been killed and around 60,000 are stranded in the hill state that was hit by torrential rains, flash floods and cloud bursts over the weekend. (IANS)

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