Assam, Odisha in talks for safe return of pilgrims

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: The Assam government is in touch with its counterparts in Odisha for safe return of pilgrims and tourists stranded in Puri in the wake of Cyclone Fani’s landfall in and around the temple town on Friday.
A high-level meeting was held on Saturday between the representatives of the two state governments to ensure security for all pilgrims and tourists stranded in Odisha and their safe return to Assam.
A group of 34 pilgrims from Assam who were left high and dry in Puri after authorities had asked them to vacate a guest house there on May 2, however have safely made it to Kolkata around midnight on Friday and were on their way back to Guwahati on Saturday morning.
The group comprises 32 pilgrims from Baksa in lower Assam and two from Baihata Chariali.
Special train services have been provided by the railways bring pilgrims and tourists from Odisha to the state since Thursday
“We reached Kolkata on Friday midnight after boarding a train to Howrah. After resting at Assam House for a few hours, we boarded a train to Guwahati from Sealdah station at 6am today,” Sachin Baishya, one of the pilgrims from Baksa, told The Shillong Times on Saturday.
He however informed that about 60 pilgrims from Assam were still stuck at Assam Jatri Niwas in Puri while 140 pilgrims from Tihu were staying at another guest house on the premises of Sankardev Namghar there.
According to reports, the pilgrims/tourists stranded in Odisha were being taken care of by authorities there.

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