The Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway was on Friday closed near Vishnuprayag in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district due to a landslide, following which hundreds of pilgrims were feared stranded at different places in Gopeshwar.
The highway has been closed near Vishnuprayag, one of the five confluences of Alaknanda river, between Joshimath (also known as Jyotirmath) and Badrinath, the famous pilgrim spot in the hill state.
On Friday afternoon, landslides occurred after huge boulders rolled down the Hathi Pahar mountain. The area
between the highway and Alaknanda river was filled with debris.
District Magistrate Ashish Joshi told PTI that Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel are engaged in clearing
the roads and it could be opened for the traffic by the Saturday afternoon. He also said efforts are on to provide all facilities to 1,000-1,500 pilgrims who are at Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Pipalkoti, Govindghat and Badrinath.
Keeping in view the danger posed by intermittent fall of debris from the mountain, the district administration has
arranged for safety of travellers at convenient places in advance, Joshi said.
However, witnesses said that huge rocks from Hathi Pahar have fallen over the road and it could take a long time to get the way cleared.
According to News State, debris from the mountains in Hathi Pahar fell on the highway following heavy rains on Friday afternoon. About 500 vehicles were stuck as the incident damaged some of the highway area.
Uttarakhand: Landslide near Vishnuprayag on Badrinath route; Almost 15,000 tourists stranded. pic.twitter.com/5sTQ63eTQv
— ANI (@ANI_news) May 19, 2017
The officials have requested tourists to stay in safe location and avoid venturing in the area. The pilgrims, on their way to Badrinath, are being stopped at Karnapriyag, Nandprayag, Pipalkoti, Joshimath and Chamoli, according to this report by Navbharat Times.
"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," Tripti Bhatt, Superintendent of Police (SP), Chamoli told The Times of India. It would take at least two days for the debris to be cleared.
In July 2016, heavy rains had triggered cloudbursts in several districts of Uttarakhand, killing at least 30 people and washing away houses. Following the flash flood, the water-level rose in Nandaprayag area.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 19, 2017 22:22 PM