Joshimath: India cricketer Harbhajan Singh, who is on a pilgrimage but stuck due to incessant rains, on Tuesday lauded the efforts of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police's (ITBP) for helping rain-hit pilgrims, here.
"We are lucky to be here at the ITBP's camp. They have helped lot of people and rescued them. I thank ITBP for doing such a great job," Harbhajan told reporters here.
Flash floods, cloudbursts and landslips have claimed 52 lives in Uttarakhand while damaging 175 houses across the state.
"I had come here for yatra (pilgrimage) to seek blessing of the God. But due to incessant rains we are stuck here. People are saying we are stuck here but I will say we are lucky that we are safe due to god's grace. Anything could have happened in this bad weather," the spinner said.
"I am not sure if can make the pilgrim to Hemkund Sahib. But I will definitely come again," he added.
The cricketer is staying at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) camp at Joshimath since the last three days after he too could not reach Hemkund Sahib gurudwara due to inclement weather.
The off-spinner today accompanied ITBP officials to the forces' barracks and campuses where stranded pilgrims are being provided food and medicines and talked to them.
"He counselled them (pilgrims and tourists) that all would be well soon and that force personnel and others are trying to bring as much succour as they can. He gave them food and water and spent with them," a senior ITBP official said. The ITBP has deployed close to 600 personnel for relief and rescue operations in the state and has opened up its office and residential buildings for the people to stay.
"Our jawans have even emptied their barracks to accommodate the people who are stuck. Every effort is being made to provide food, water and medicines through two private choppers that have been pressed in by the force," the official said.
The force has spread its men to rain-hit areas in Kedarnath, Gaurikund, Govindghat, Pandukeswar, Karnaprayag, Badrinath and Uttarkashi.