Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday assured the people of rain-battered Uttarakhand that the Central government stands fully with them in this hour of crisis. Briefing the media in Dehradun after conducting an aerial survey of the affected areas, Shah said that the Centre recently issued Rs 250 crore as Uttarakhand is prone to natural calamities. He also said that the Centre has already released an assistance of Rs 749.60 crore as the Central share under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Shah said that timely warnings by the Central government helped in minimising the loss of lives as it had issued a warning 24 hours in advance on October 16. “Advance alerts were sent so that unnecessary movement could be avoided. The pilgrims of Char Dham were also stopped where they were before the rains started, and due to this there is no news of any casualty of any of the pilgrims of Char Dham. The yatra has now resumed,” he said, adding that NDRF, Army, ITBP, SDRF, state response teams and the fire brigade were put on alert before the rains started. Helicopters were also made available before the rains, he added. Shah said that except three roads, traffic movement has resumed on most of the roads and relief materials have also started arriving wherever needed, while Nainital, Haldwani and Almora roads have been opened. Also, repair works on the damaged railway tracks have begun, he said. More than 60 per cent electricity supply has been restored, people have started receiving pure drinking water while the health facilities have not been disrupted, he added. “More than 3,500 people have been rescued and over 16,000 have been evacuated to safer places as precaution. There are no reports of loss of life of any tourist so far. Seventeen teams of NDRF, 60 teams of SDRF, 15 companies of PAC and more than 5,000 police and fire brigade personnel are still engaged in the entire operation,” Shah told reporters. The Home Minister also said that the state government carried out the rescue operation in a very successful way and soon after the situation becomes normal in a couple of days, survey teams of the Ministry of Home Affairs will make a visit here to take stock of the damage and accordingly help will also be provided. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami thanked the Central government for the support provided by it at short notice.
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