With the MeT department warning of heavy showers at various places in Uttarakhand on Friday and major rivers in spate, the Chardham yatra has been suspended even as the Centre decided to provide two Mi-17 helicopters to the state to deal with any emergency.
While yatra to Kedarnath and Badrinath was earlier suspended till today, the pilgrimage to Gangotri and Yamunotri which was going on in a low key manner despite the warning was finally halted on Thursday evening for the safety of pilgrims.
With yatra to Gangotri and Yamunotri also halted, the entire chardham pilgrimage stands suspended for the time being, Additional Chief Secretary Rakesh Sharma said, adding it will resume only when the weather clears up.
The Centre has, meanwhile, agreed to the state's demand for two Mi-17 choppers which will remain stationed in Dehradun till July 25 to operate in case of an emergency.
The demand was put forward to the Centre last evening when Union Cabinet Secretary Ajeet Sethi took stock of the situation prevailing in the state through video conferencing in view of MeT department's prediction of heavy rain in some parts of the state on Friday and Saturday.
Though most rivers in the state are in spate they are still flowing below the danger mark and the situation as of now is far from alarming, Sharma said.
Due to heavy rains over the past few days, routes are obstructed at 20 places between Rudraprayag and Sonprayag but no pilgrim is stuck at any destination, he said.
173 pilgrims stranded in KedarValley on Thursday have been moved to safe destinations. 13 'Kanwariyas' have also been shifted to safer destinations from Lincholi by a team of State Disaster Response Force.