"We have flown a total of seven helicopters to meet requirements, if any, to the affected areas out of which five are stationed in Joshimath and two in Mandakini valley. They have been sent primarily to evacuate stranded pilgrims to safety if the need to do so arises," Uttarakhand Chief Secretary N Ravishankar told reporters.

The fourth batch of Mansarovar pilgrims has been stopped at Dharchula due to heavy trains continuing there, Pithoragarh District Magistrate Sushil Kumar Sharma stated.

While a vital motor bridge between Sonprayag and Gaurikund was washed away by heavy rains last evening, Badrinath highway remained blocked for the second consecutive day at four points, leaving over 9,000 pilgrims stranded at Badrinath, Hanumanchatti, Pandukeshwar, Govindghat and Ghanghariya, Chamoli District Disaster Managament officer Nandkishore Joshi said.

Over 5,000 pilgrims who had left for Hemkund Sahib have been stopped at Ghanghariya whereas around 1,200 pilgrims bound for the Sikh shrine have been asked to stay in Govindghat, Joshi said.

About 5,000 pilgrims are in Badrinath waiting for the highway to be restored, he said, adding, the Govindghat gurudwara has been vacated because of the rising waters of the Alaknanda.

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