Evacuations will be over in 72 hours Uttarakhand govt tells SC


The Centre and the Uttarakhand government on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the rescue and relief operations and the evacuation of those stranded across the flood-hit state will be completed in the next 72 hours.

In its Action Taken Report (ATR) submitted to the Supreme Court, the state government said that the clearing of debris from different areas is high on its agenda.

Responding to a query from the Supreme Court about the rescue work being completed so far, the state government said that it aims to complete the evacuation of all the stranded pilgrims in next 72 hours if weather remains favourable.

The Action Taken Report also says that the top priority is identification and disposal of dead bodies. Efforts are being made for listing of missing people, the report added.

The submission was made after the Supreme Court asked the Centre and Uttarakhand government to step up rescue operations to evacuate people caught in flash floods in the state.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi said the governments should consider the suggestions to be submitted by the petitioner who had moved the PIL for the rescue of people and posted the case for further hearing on June 28.

In its ATR, the Centre said that a total of 1189 air sorties were done by the Indian Air Force while the Army has carried out 419 sorties.

By June 23, total 96,500 people were evacuated by all agencies and free transport is being arranged for all people to reach their respective destinations and more than 4000 vehicles have been deployed to bring the stranded people to Haridwar and Dehradun, the ATR said.

The report said that 80 per cent of telecommunication facilities have been restored and 77 satellite phones have been distributed by the Centre to various agencies.

The state government further said there is no shortage of food items and essential supplies in the disaster affected areas and 50,000 bottles of water and 50,000 packets of biscuits and 45,000 ready to eat food packets have been made available and the government is organising relief camps for the disaster affected people at 62 different places.

The report said, that approximately four lakh chlorine tablets have been distributed in the affected districts and another five lakh would be sent in another two days.

More bodies recovered, toll climbs to 807

At least 127 more bodies were recovered from Kedarnath taking the death toll due to the natural calamity to 807 even as security forces began the process of cremating decaying corpses lying in the shrine premises.

Fresh incidents of landslips were also reported from Tehri district in which a woman and a child were killed.

Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport but air rescue operations to evacuate around 9000 people have now resumed with improvement in the weather.

With rain hampering rescue operations from Badrinath where the majority of pilgrims remain stranded, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has appealed to their relatives not to run out of patience saying they are safe with enough supplies of food and and medicines made available to them.

Assuring them that their kin stranded in Badrinath will be evacuated safely at the earliest, he asked them not to worry.

There are about five community kitchens being run at the shrine under the supervision of the district administration, he said.

Meanwhile, truck loads of dry Deodar wood and ghee have been despatched to Kedarnath and the effort is to begin the process of mass ritual cremation of bodies strewn over the premises after their identification, post mortem and DNA preservation formalities, sources said.

With the bodies already beginning to decompose, the air is laden with a stench giving rise to fears of an epidemic outbreak in affected areas.

Met warns of more rains

Meanwhile, the Met department has warned of more rains over the next 24 hours in Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Dehradun.

“We’re expecting rains across the state. Heavy rains are possible in Uttarkashi and Chamoli and rescue operations will be affected. Rains across the state are expected on Wednesday too,” a Met department official was quoted as saying..

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