Dehradun: Over 200 people are feared missing following the glacier burst, which led to heavy flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers, said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Monday while adding that rescue operation is underway.
“Around 203 people are missing including 11 dead bodies are recovered as of now. We were not aware of a subsidiary company’s project in Tapovan till yesterday. We are estimating that 35 people are stuck in another tunnel. Rescue operation is underway,” said Rawat. Meanwhile, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said Union Home Minister Amit Shah is reviewing the situation frequently.
“We are constantly receiving directions from the Centre with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeping track. Home Minister Amit Shah is also reviewing the situation in every half an hour,” Pokhriyal said.
“It is a very difficult situation, but ITBP successfully rescued people from the first tunnel and now they are working on the second tunnel which is approximately three kilometers long. NDRF and the military are also on it. By afternoon we can expect some positive results,” he added.
Meanwhile, a team of SDRF-Uttarakhand Police carried out a search operation around Srinagar Dam.
“We were informed that 178 people were issued passes here (tunnel). Of which, 15 were rescued yesterday. The rescue operation is underway in another tunnel. There is a possibility that 35 people are stranded in it. Priority is to rescue them as soon as possible,” said Neeru Garg, DIG Garhwal range.
MHA informed that the second tunnel’s mouth has also been opened up. Slush and silt clearance is in progress.
On the other hand, aerial rescue and relief missions have resumed with Mi-17 and ALH helicopters flying from Dehradun to Joshimath with disaster relief teams on board said the Indian Air Force.
Multi-agency operation underway at Tapovan
A multi-agency operation to rescue an estimated 34 people trapped inside a big tunnel at Tapovan, officials said on Monday.
Personnel from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and some state disaster response teams are clearing the tunnel that has been blocked with slush, debris and silt, and are inching closer towards the stuck workers.
“Our teams are working overnight to rescue about 30 workers who are trapped in the tunnel. Specialised equipment for such operations has been deployed. We are hopeful we will able to rescue everyone,” ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey said in Delhi.
Around 300 ITBP personnel are currently deployed at the site, he said.
(with PTI inputs)