Shocking tales of human apathy to the sufferings of Uttarakhand flood victims have come to the fore with some stranded people forced to pay Rs 250 for one paratha and Rs 100 for a small pack of chips.
Dehradun local Manohar Lal Mauriya, who has been rescued and admitted to the Doon Hospital, said the exploitation of distraught travelers has saddened him.
"I had to pay Rs 40 for a small bowl of rice. There was no food available anywhere," Mauriya, who saw his taxi being washed by the swirling flood waters, said.
Amit Gupta of Baghpat, who spoke to his relatives stranded in Gaumukh, said they had to pay Rs 400 for two small packets of chips and two bottles of water.
Having survived the tragedy, the stranded persons, many of whom are left with little money and belongings, are finding it difficult to buy food and water for themselves.
A stranded Sikh tourist complained that some locals were exploiting their helplessness.
"Taxi drivers are demanding Rs 3000-4000 for a journey that would normally cost Rs 1,000. All our money has been exhausted. We are helpless," the tourist said.
Another tourist waiting at the railway station said they are paying through the nose to buy food. "Shopkeepers are selling a paratha for Rs 250 and a water bottle for Rs 200. It is terrible".
Ramesh from Udaipur, whose parents are stranded in a flood-hit area, said they are finding it hard to buy food and water as the locals were demanding an exorbitant amount for the same.
Shyam Sunder Sharma from Phagwara said there were no arrangements in the camp in Harshil for food and medicines.
Authorities are making efforts to rush food packets amid reports that hundreds of survivors did not get anything to eat for days.
Image: A survivor pleads with a soldier to allow her mother to board an army helicopter during rescue operations at Badrinath | Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters