Dehradun: Five people, including three labourers from Nepal died and two others were injured with incessant rains lashing Uttarakhand for the second consecutive day on Monday as authorities advised Chardham pilgrims not to proceed to the Himalayan temples till the weather improves.
The labourers were staying in a tent at Samkhal near Lansdowne in Pauri district when rubble flowing down from a field above due to the rains buried them alive, District Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jogdande said.
They were engaged in the construction of a hotel at Samkhal. Two labourers injured in the incident were admitted at the Kotdwar base hospital, he said.
In another incident, two people were killed when their house collapsed, following a landslide in Selkhola in Champawat district, the State Emergency Operation Centre said.
Chardham pilgrims, who had arrived in Haridwar and Rishikesh by Sunday, have been asked not to proceed further till the weather improves while operation of vehicles for the Himalayan temples has been suspended temporarily.
Passenger vehicles are not being allowed to cross the Chandrabhaga bridge, Tapovan, Lakshman Jhoola and Muni-ki-Reti Bhadrakali barriers in Rishikesh.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the state disaster control room at the secretariat to take weather updates and know the conditions of roads and highways.
He appealed to the pilgrims to defer their further journey for two days until the weather normalises.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Dhami on the phone to get an update on precautionary steps being taken by the state government in view of the heavy rain alert and assured him of all possible help.
It has been raining in Kedarnath since Sunday night but the Mandakini river is flowing at its normal level. A Devasthanam Board official said regular prayers at the four Himalayan temples are continuing and pilgrims staying there are safe.
Pilgrims headed for Yamunotri have been asked to stay in Badkot and Jankichatti, whereas those en route to Gangotri have been asked to stay in Harsil, Bhatwari and Maneri, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Mayur Dikshit told PTI.
Kedarnath and Badrinath-bound pilgrims have also been requested not to proceed on their journey till the weather clears. Most of the pilgrims on way to Badrinath are staying in Joshimath and Chamoli, Chamoli district disaster management officer N K Joshi said.
The Chardham Devasthanam Board said the yatra has been temporarily halted for the sake of safety of pilgrims in view of the heavy rain alert issued by the Uttarakhand meteorological department for October 17-19.
Heavy to very heavy rains, lightning, hail storms and high speed winds (60-70 kmph) have been forecast by the Meteorological Department (MeT) for all 13 districts of Uttarakhand between October 17 and 19.