Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 11 April 2021 6.34 AM IST

Uttarakhand glacier burst: Toll rises to 31, race against time to rescue those trapped in tunnel


CHAMOLI: The death toll in the disaster has climbed to 31, while some 175 people are still missing. The rescue at Tapovan tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli is continuing for the third day today. The district was hit by a massive disaster early Sunday after a glacier broke off at Joshimath and flooded the Rishiganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi appreciated the CM for being on the ground. Haryana CM ML Khattar said the state will donate Rs 11 crore from the CMRF for Uttarakhand relief work.

The Rajya Sabha paid tribute to the victim of the disaster. Home Minister Amit Shah said that 450 jawans of ITBP, 5 teams of NDRF, 8 teams of Indian Army, a Navy team and five IAF helicopters are engaged in search and rescue operation. Due to a pool being washed away, connection with 13 small villages in the region has been lost.

“The operation was carried out the entire night and is under progress. A lot of debris has been removed. We have not been able to establish any contact till now,” Aparna Kumar, DIG Sector HQ, ITBP Dehradun said.

"The ITBP has set up its control room and its 450 jawans are carrying out search and rescue operations in affected areas of Uttarakhand while 5 teams of NDRF are at the site as well. 8 teams of Army, one medical column and an ambulance are also positioned at the site of the incident. A diving team of Navy is also there," said Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha. He continued saying that 5 helicopters of the Air Force have been deployed in the operation while one control room of the Army has also been set up at Joshimath.

Home Minister Amit Shah told the Lok Sabha that the Central government is actively monitoring the situation and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also being apprised of the situation in Uttarakhand. "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," said Shah.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah apprised Lok Sabha of the ongoing operations in disaster-hit Uttarakhand saying, "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 the second tunnel of NTPC project, efforts are underway on war footing to rescue them." He further confirmed that the Uttarakhand government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 Lakh each for the next of the kin of the deceased.

Union Power Minister RK Singh said: "93 NTPC workers are missing, 39 still stuck in the tunnel, we're trying to reach them. We are planning to install Early Warning System as a precautionary measure against avalanche. Financial aid of Rs 20 lakhs will be given to deceased's family."

"All 12 persons rescued by Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on 7 February discharged today from 1st Battalion ITBP, Joshimath, Uttarakhand today," the ITBP said.

A Hyderabad-based team has got a remote sensing device that can detect debris up to 500 metres deep in the ground. We are using the device with the help of a chopper: Ashok Kumar, DGP Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said 30 dead bodies have been recovered while search operation is on for the missing at river bed and under the debris. "Today, three bodies were recovered from the debris in Raini village including our police personnel. We can't estimate an 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 and water as tunnel is 2.5km long," he said.

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