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Ban on VIP entry in Uttarakhand. Rahul, an exception?

Last updated on: June 25, 2013 15:13 IST

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi landed in Uttarakhand on Monday Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde on Tuesday said that he had asked the Uttarakhand government not to allow any VIP to land in the flood ravaged areas in the state to pre-empt any disturbance to relief work.

"I had told the Uttarakhand government not to allow any VIP except for Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, to land in the (rain hit areas of the) state to keep security forces free from attending them and (to allow them to) concentrate on relief and rehabilitation work for the pilgrims," Shinde told reporters in Patna.

"I am happy that all VIPs followed the instruction," he added.

Shinde said he himself had made an aerial survey of the destruction without landing anywhere as also Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi also made an aerial survey of the devastation caused by rain and flash floods last week.

However, Rahul Gandhi flew into Uttarakhand on Monday to survey the rescue and relief operations. He visited the Char Dham air base in Guptkashi on Tuesday and spoke to pilots and relatives of those who have gone missing after flash floods hit the state.

The home minister said that situation was improving in Uttarakhand, which has been devastated by flood and landslides and relief work was going on at a faster pace.

Thousands of devotees have been evacuated from Kedarnath and Badrinath, he said adding 37 helicopters were ferrying stranded pilgrims to safety.

"For the first three to four days the situation was very grave but now the condition has improved considerably in Uttarakhand," he said.

With inputs from PTI