Uttarakhand glacier burst: PM, CM announce ex-gratia relief, alert sounded

Last Updated: Sunday, 7 February 2021 (22:35 IST)
Dehradun: A substantial part of the Nanda Devi at Joshimath in district of on Sunday, causing huge floods in Dhauli Ganga and Alaknanda rivers which led to massive devastation in the Himalayan region. More than 150 people, including labourers working at the in Tapovan-Reni and a few shepherds, are feared killed. At least 10 bodies have been recovered so far by the rescue teams.

The Rishiganga hydro power project of 13.2 MW capacity was washed away and a downstream project of NTPC at was damaged as the glacial break triggered an and the waters gushed down with ferocity from the mountain sides, sweeping away many homes. Nearby villages were evacuated and rescue teams shifted people to safety. The glacier burst revived memories of 2013 massive floods in Kedarnath area when a swollen Mandakini river caused large scale devastation and hundreds of people lost their lives.
 
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) teams carried rescued persons on stretchers to the nearest road and took out all 16 persons who were trapped in a tunnel near Tapovan in Chamoli earlier in the day. ITBP, which has a base at Joshimath, and units of the State Disaster Response Force and National Disaster Response Force have been deployed at the spot. Teams of the Indian Air Force and Army have also joined the rescue operations.
 
An alert has been sounded for all downstream districts, and people from Vishnuprayag, Joshimath, Karnprayag, Rudraprayag, Rishikesh and Haridwar have been warned against going near river banks.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has announced Rs. 4 lakh compensation for the family of those killed. Mr Rawat also said teams from the police, the Army and the ITBP, as well as from the national and state disaster response forces, were “doing their best to save the lives of the workers at sites affected by the disaster”.
 
He said that five locals, including shepherds with their 180 sheep and goats, were swept away in the flash flood. The number of missing people could be higher, he said.
 
A team of DRDO’s snow and avalanche experts from its newly created Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment would be reaching on Monday to assess the situation at the site of the flash floods. Team would also assess the situation in glaciers around the site, DRDO officials said.
 
The Chief Minister said that a team of 60 personnel from the state disaster response force with equipment have reached the spot.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the avalanche. Rs. 50,000 would be given to those seriously injured, PMO said.
 
The Chief Minister said that Prime Minister has assured all possible help and called him up twice. “I also got calls from President Ram Nath Kovind and Home Minister Amit Shah,” Mr Rawat said.
 
Two C-130J Super Herecules aircraft with three companies of NDRF and 15 tonnes of other loads and equipment have already reached Jolly Grant airport. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat is monitoring military efforts for rescue operations, said Defence officials.
 
“In this difficult time, we stand shoulder to shoulder with people affected by the tragedy in Chamoli district, Praying for well-being of the people of Uttarakhand,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet.
 
In the national Capital, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, met to review the situation arising out of the natural disaster caused by glacial burst. Mr Gauba directed concerned agencies to work in close coordination and extend all assistance to the State administration.
 
Congress President Sonia Gandhi expressed her concern over glacier break, flooding and destruction in Uttarakhand. “I pray for the safety of all and request Congress workers and volunteers to help the people and the authorities in their relief and rescue efforts,” she said in a tweet. (UNI)