Braving odds, KMC co-ordinator & his family visit Kedarnath; return home safe
KOLKATA: Despite the catastrophe that unfolded in rain-battered Uttarakhand, co-ordinator of Kolkata Municipal Corporation's (KMC) ward 4—Goutam Haldar—and his family braved the inclement weather to reach Kedarnath and returned back to the city safe.
Blocked roads, rocks falling and long queues of stranded vehicles, their journey was marked with several challenges. Haldar, a resident of Raja Manindra Road, accompanied by his wife, two daughters, brother- in-law and mother-in-law had reached Dehradun on October 16. Upon reaching Uttarakhand, they were disappointed as it was raining incessantly.
The family then left for Mussorie. On October 18, they started their journey in a car up to Phata from where a helicopter was scheduled to depart for Kedarnath. However, around 50 kms before Phata—at a place called Tilwara—they were stranded due to rocks falling indiscriminately barely a few meters away.
"There was a queue of vehicles behind us and the local police advised us to return back. Majority of the cars left the spot and receded," he recollected. However, two more vehicles and the one in which Haldar's family was travelling waited as they were determined that they would not return back without paying a visit to Kedarnath.
"The rocks fell for 4 hours. After it stopped, we started our journey upwards and travelled up to Rudra Prayag, where were stuck for several hours as the roads were closed due to landslides at various places. However, around 1.30 pm on October 19, weather conditions improved and we reached Phata in the night. We were unable to avail the helicopter services as the authorities refused to reschedule tickets. We did not lose hope and the next day we reached Gourikund and from there we managed to arrange horses to climb up to Kedarnath," Haldar said.
There was no inconvenience during the return journey as the family managed to arrange helicopter services. They returned to their residence in the city on Saturday night.
"We were scheduled to return on Friday morning. But, we were more than 30 hours late. We are happy that by the grace of God, we braved the hostile weather conditions and were able to visit Kedarnath,"a member of Haldar's family said.