Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that he willingly undertook the 16 kilometre trek to Kedarnath, adding that travelling by helicopter to the shrine would be an insult to the victims of the 2013 floods in the state.
“I had two reasons for trekking to Kedarnath. First, I wanted to pay tribute to the people who died in the 2013 floods. I had come here after the floods and saw with my own eyes what had happened. I felt that if I travel to Kedarnath by helicopter, I would be disrespecting those people. Thus, I decided to trek to Kedarnath, just like the victims of the floods,” Rahul Gandhi told the media.
“Secondly, the people living here, as well as tourists visiting the area, are wary following the floods. Thus, my undertaking the trek might ease their fears,” he added.
The Gandhi scion, who was accompanied by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat and senior Congress leader Ambika Soni, also said that he will propose the construction of helipads at all hill stations in order to ease evacuation during emergencies.
“When the tragedy occurred in 2013, the officials on the spot spent their sweat and blood in the rescue attempts. In the aftermath, Rawat ji directed the construction of helipads at regular intervals so that in times of emergency, evacuation can speedily take place. I will propose that other states also take up this scheme,” he said.