1. Home
  2. English
  3. Death Toll in Uttarakhand Tragedy go up to 31, Many More Feared Trapped in Debris
Death Toll in Uttarakhand Tragedy go up to 31, Many More Feared Trapped in Debris

Death Toll in Uttarakhand Tragedy go up to 31, Many More Feared Trapped in Debris

Social Share

Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Feb 9: With the recovery of five more bodies, the death toll in the Uttarakhand glacier tragedy rose to 31 on Tuesday along with growing apprehension that the number of casualty may increase sharply considering about the number of people still reported “missing” or trapped in the tunnels and debris.

Even as reports are being collected from various sources, the number of people reported “missing” after the Sunday’s flash floods following glacial burst has gone up to about 300. The Uttarakhand government officials said efforts were being made to breach the blocked tunnels where innumerable number of people are believed to have been trapped, by Tuesday night but the task would not be easy.

The Union Home Minister Amit Shah issued statements in both Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha on the avalanche tragedy in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district and said all concerned agencies of Centre and State were monitoring the situation closely.

“The Prime Minister himself is monitoring it. Both the control rooms of the Home Ministry are monitoring the situation round the clock and the state is being provided with all the possible help,” he said. The Members of Parliament also observed two minutes silence to pay tributes to the disaster victims.

Earlier during the day, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat conducted an aerial survey of areas affected due to the glacier disaster and took stock of the situation.

Personnel of the ITBP, NDRF and Army worked to locate around 170 people, mostly labourers working at two power projects, who are still reported missing.

Officials said rescue operations are centred around a 1,900-metre-long tunnel at NTPC’s Tapovan site, where at least 35 people are believed to be trapped. A barrage at the project site had been washed away in the flood that saw water rise up to 70 feet, leading to debris blocking the 20-feet-wide opening of the tunnel.

At least 70 people from Uttar Pradesh including about 35 from Lakhimpur Kheri, are reported missing in the tragedy. “As of now, 70 people from UP are feared missing, including 34 from Lakhimpur Kheri, nine from Saharanpur and five from Shravasti,” the state relief commissioner Sanjay Goyal said.

Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha that 12 people of NTPC project were safely rescued from one tunnel, 15 people of Rishiganga project were also rescued at the time of the incident. “25-35 people feared trapped in 2nd tunnel of NTPC project, efforts are underway on war footing to rescue them,” Shah said. “450 jawans of ITBP, 5 teams of NDRF, 8 teams of Indian Army, a Navy team and 5 IAF helicopters are engaged in search and rescue operation,” Shah further added.

The union power minister R K Singh said 93 NTPC workers were missing while 39 others are feared stuck in the tunnel. “We’re trying to reach them. We are planning to install Early Warning System as a precautionary measure against avalanche,” he said. Singh also said financial aid of Rs 20 lakhs would be given to deceased’s family.

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said search for the missing people was underway but it was difficult to guess how much it could take to complete the rescue operation. “Search operation is on for the missing. We are searching river bed & debris. Today, three bodies were recovered from the debris in Raini village including our police personnel.”

“We can’t estimate exact time to remove debris as there’s 90-degrees turn in the tunnel. We’ve asked project engineers to make alternative entry to reach through. We’ll attempt this today. Don’t think there’ll be insufficient oxygen & water as tunnel is 2.5km long,” he further added.

In view of the rescue operations which are underway at the Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, ITBP ADG Manoj Singh Rawat on Tuesday said, “We have reached up to 120 metres inside the tunnel. We are short by another 60 metre to reach link where we are anticipating presence of people.”

While new evidence from satellite images suggest that glacial lakes might not be the reason for Sunday’s flash flood in Uttarakhand, several studies in the last few years have highlighted the risk posed by such lakes in causing similar incidents.

These studies have taken note of the rapid increase in the number of glacial lakes due to a retreat in the glaciers caused by warming temperatures, and their potential to cause large-scale flooding and destruction.



Your email address will not be published.

Join our WhatsApp Channel

And stay informed with the latest news and updates.

Join Now
revoi whats app qr code