New Delhi: Air operations to rescue stranded people in flood-hit Uttarakhand have been suspended due to overcast conditions but the ground operations are on, Indo Tibetan Border Police chief Ajay Chadha said on Sunday.

"Most of the people who are stuck in the areas near Kedarnath shrine have been evacuated. The rescue operations on the ground are on, but the air sorties have been suspended for the time being due to adverse weather conditions," he said.

"Low clouds are creating problems, but we are making attempts to fly to reach out to stranded people. As soon as weather conditions stabilize, flights will be resumed," he said.

The ITBP troops transported more than 400 people with the help of choppers from Jungle Chatti area on Saturday. These people were taken to Gore Gaon, from where they were evacuated, Chadha said.

He said, "Till previous night, there were 60-70 people left around Kedarnath shrine. Around 100 people are still stranded in Goregaon and 450 people are yet to be evacuated from Jungle Chatti and nearby areas."

"Efforts are on to rescue small number of people left stranded in Bhairon Chatti, where NDRF team is also creating a helipad. The moment it is ready and the clouds clear up, air rescue will start," the ITBP chief said.

The ITBP team has reestablished the road route from Badrinath to Hanuman Chatti which is being used to carry on foot rescue operations. "The team has brought 2,500 people to Hanuman Chatti today. From there, they will have to walk 10 kilometres till Gobind Ghat. From Gobind Ghat they will be transported by vehicles to Joshimath," he said.

Road connectivity has been restored in Pithoragad. "We were also facing some difficulties in carrying air operations due to air turbine fuel (ATF) shortage. The oil tankers have started reaching us. We are sharing our reserved oil stock with IAF," he said.

Chadha said that in order to have uninterrupted communication during the rescue work, the Home Ministry has distributed 25 satellite phones. Fifty more phones have been procured and are being distributed.


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