From the 206 people missing after the flash flood catastrophe in Uttarakhand, bodies of 70 people and 29 body parts have been recovered from Tapovan in Chamoli district so far, said Chamoli police late Monday.
On Sunday, two more bodies had been recovered from the flood ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project site. The death toll in the calamity in Uttarakhand has now risen to 70 even as search operations continued for the 16th day on Monday.
Three bodies had been recovered from the desilting tank near the Tapovan project barrage by Saturday evening while two more were extricated late at night, district administration officials had said.
Search operation at the project site has been underway on a war footing basis for a fortnight since it bore the brunt of an avalanche triggered by a glacier burst over Rishi Ganga in Chamoli district on February 7. The 13.2 mw Rishi Ganga hydel project was totally demolished in the avalanche while the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project suffered extensive damage.
Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauria had asked the NTPC to press into service additional excavators and divert the course of Dhauli Ganga to the other side so that its water does not flow through the barrage into Tapovan tunnel hampering sludge clearing efforts. River water flowing into the tunnel from the barrage has been a major headache for rescuers at the tunnel making the muck clearing operations even more challenging, Bhadauria had said.
Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Monday reviewed the status of an artificial lake formed in the wake of a recent glacier burst in the upper catchment areas of the Rishiganga river in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. At a meeting, Bhalla reviewed the action being taken to allow for more flow in the water and removal of some obstructions, which have formed at the site of the artificial lake, a statement issued by the home ministry said.
The chief secretary of Uttarakhand, who joined the meeting through video-conference, informed that based on the physical assessment of the artificial lake made on the site by multiple scientific agencies and satellite data, there is no imminent danger as the volume of water is less than expected and it is flowing through a natural channel that has been widened. The Union home secretary promised continued help and assistance from central agencies to the state government as and when required by it to handle the situation arising out of the temporary obstruction, the statement said.
The secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the state administration have been asked to keep a continued watch on the situation in coordination with central and state agencies. The meeting was also attended by the ITBP DG, the member-secretary of the NDMA, the NDRF DG, the DRDO chairman, senior officials of the Ministry of Power, officers from the IDS headquarters and scientists from various central agencies, along with other senior officers of the Union home ministry.