Around two dozen people still stranded after landslides in Uttarakhand's Champawat

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Dehradun, Jul 21 (PTI) Around two dozen people continued to be stranded on Wednesday after a series of landslides occurred along the Tanakpur-Ghat national highway in Uttarakhand's Champawat district following heavy rains, while Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the cloudburst-hit villages of Uttarkashi district to assess the situation.

Traffic remained blocked at Vishramghat due to debris on the highway, prompting the district administration to make arrangements for the stay of the stranded people in Champawat, District Disaster Management Officer Manoj Pandey said.

Landslides occurred at eight points along the highway on Tuesday, bringing mounds of debris onto the road and leaving around 150 people stranded at various places.

Though the debris was cleared at seven points by Tuesday evening, the rocks and boulders at Vishramghat could not be cleared till midnight despite efforts, Pandey said.

The efforts to clear the rubble on the road at Vishramghat were resumed on Wednesday morning with the help of five JCB machines, one Pokland machine and a loader, he added.

Though most of those who got stranded have been sent to Haldwani via Devidhura, around two dozen people are still waiting in Champawat for the road at Vishramghat to open, Pandey said.

Meanwhile, the chief minister visited the cloudburst-hit villages of Uttarkashi district on Wednesday for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and assured the affected people of all possible help from the government.

Accompanied by cabinet minister Ganesh Joshi, Dhami visited Mando and Kankarari villages and met the affected people, an official release issued here said.

He also directed Uttarkashi District Magistrate Mayur Dikshit to start the process of relocating Mando village in accordance with the demand of the villagers.

The chief minister went from door to door, meeting residents of the two villages and assuring them of all help from the government.

Three members of a family, including a mother-daughter duo, were killed in Mando in a cloudburst on Sunday night, while a 25-year-old man went missing in the neighbouring Kankarari village. The body of the man was recovered from a rivulet on Wednesday.

With the recovery of the body, the death toll in the cloudburst in Uttarkashi district has risen to four.

Dhami met the man's kin in Kankarari to commiserate with them and assure them of all support.

He also announced an additional compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, apart from the Rs 4 lakh announced as compensation from the Disaster Relief Fund. PTI ALM RC

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