Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway closed after landslide, 1000-1500 feared stranded

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The landslide had blocked part of the road leading up from Joshimath to Badrinath in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

The pilgrimage was halted temporarily as several were stuck and forced to take shelter nearby.

It is pertinent to mention that the mountainside at Hathi Parvat is stated to have been unstable since it was hit by landslide following rains during 2015.

Chief minister Rawat said the route would be opened on Saturday as the Border Roads Organisation and other authorities were clearing the debris. He also said efforts are being made to provide all basic services to 1,000-1,500 pilgrims who are struck at Joshimath, Karnaprayag, Pipalkoti, Govindghat and Badrinath.

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However, witnesses said that huge rocks from Hathi Pahar have fallen over the road and it could take a long time to get the way cleared. A BRO official told TOI that least 150 vehicles were stranded on both sides of affected area.

A large number of pilgrims throng Uttarakhand in summer for the Chardham Yatra - a holy tour of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri.

Due to the landslide and closure of the highway, around 2,000 travellers on way to Badrinath, the famous pilgrim spot in the hill state, were left stranded at various places. A year ago in July, heavy rains had triggered cloudbursts in several districts of Uttarakhand, killing at least 30 people and washing away houses.

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