Uma Bharti denies reports of unavailability of chopper

New Delhi: Union Minister Uma Bharti today refuted media reports that she had to stay put in Uttarakhand’s Kedarnath for the past two days due to unavailability of helicopter and thanked Harish Rawat government for its hospitality during her visit there.

“Helicopter was made available to the Minister all the time during her stay. She has made it clear that she herself wanted to stay back in Kedarnath for two days. She also thanked the state government for its hospitality,” Ministry Spokesperson Samir Sinha said.

Water Resources Minister Bharti stayed back in Kedarnath before arriving here “on her own” and took stock of the works under Centre’s ‘Namami Gange’ programme in the state over the period, he added.

Meanwhile, Bharti exuded confidence that the ambitious ‘Namami Gange’ programme will be implemented in Kedarnath notwithstanding difficult weather conditions, Sinha said.

She also lauded employees and labourers attached to Centre’s Nehru Institute of Mountaineering for working there under difficult conditions even when the temperature plunged to minus 2 degrees Celsius.

Sinha said while speaking to reporters here, Bharti assured that the Centre will extend monetary help to the state for recovering from the 2013 floods which had wrecked havoc there.

“She also urged Rawat through media that development of Kedarnath is a responsibility of all. None should try to seek political mileage out of it,” the spokesperson added.

According to media reports, the Union Minister was struck in Kedarnath for two days due to unavailability of a two-engine helicopter, provided to Union Minister as per protocol, to airlift her to Rudraprayag.