Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday visited the rescue camp in Guptkashi and talked to locals and officials about the status of relief operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand. The locals narrated their woes to Gandhi, who assured them that government will soon take steps to help them.
"Give us two days, let us just send the pilgrims and tourists home first, all our attention would be to you then. The Centre and the state government both will take steps to help you," Gandhi told the locals. He was briefed by Rudraprayag Sub Divisional Magistrate Laxmi Raj Chauhan about the steps being taken to address the needs of the villagers in the area.
A local requested that people from the area be allowed to visit Kedarnath, Rambada, Gauri Kund and other regions to bring back bodies of their kin.
Responding to the request, Gandhi said it would not be possible to send every local who had relatives missing to calamity-hit areas. "If there are say, six-seven locals who can recognise the most number of people, something can be arranged for them. But there is a lot of rubble there. We are thinking of flying in two JCB machines via helicopters to remove that," he said.
Another local told him that they have lost their main source of income.
"We will be acting on all your concerns, just give us time," the Congress leader said.
As Gandhi was taking a stock of the situation, about 500 m away in the main market thoroughfare, locals shouted slogans against the state government saying, the response to the crisis was "appalling". "Families here have not only been bereaved, many are without proper food and clothing, but nothing is being done for them," they alleged.