Blocked Badrinath highway causing inconvenience to pilgrims, polling agents

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Gopeshwar, Jul 11 (PTI) The closure of Badrinath National Highway for traffic for the last three days due to a landslide at Jogidhara has become a bane for the pilgrims going to the Himalayan temple and the Hemkund Sahib.

Vehicles carrying pilgrims have been stopped by the police between Chamoli and Karnaprayag which has led to a jam near the Langasu Police Station.

Pilgrims, which include women, children and elderly, are being helped by the police and SDRF personnel in crossing over mounds of rubble blocking the highway, officials said.

Several stuck in their vehicles are waiting near the Lagasu Police Station for the road to open.

The blocked highway made it difficult for the polling agents who were deployed at remote stations in the hills for Wednesday's bypoll to Badrinath assembly seat to return to Gopeshwar.

The agents returned in a helicopter on Thursday to Gopeshwar from such remote polling stations as Dronagiri, Jumma, and Kosha, the district election office said.

BRO personnel are busy clearing the road but the debris falling constantly from above the hills is complicating their task, Chamoli district disaster management officer N K Joshi said. The number of pilgrims going to the Himalayan temples, however, has declined due to the onset of monsoon, he said For instance, just 400 pilgrims went to Badrinath on Wednesday, he said.

The number used to be in thousands before the arrival of monsoon. PTI COR ALM ALM VN VN

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