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Heavy rains in Uttarakhand: Toll mounts to 34

August 05, 2012 16:57 IST

Indo Tibetan Border Police and police personnel on Sunday searched debris of flattened homes and dug rubbles to look for more bodies in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand where the toll due to the incessant downpour reached 34.

Six people were still missing in the Uttarkashi district, said a top government official.

"In Uttarakashi alone, 31 people have been killed and six are still missing following heavy rains," District Magistrate R Rajesh Kumar said.

Twenty three workers of the state-run UJVN Ltd's Assi Ganga hydel project, who went missing early Saturday following a cloud burst in the upper hills of Uttarkashi district, have now been declared dead.

"We are now counting these 23 workers in the list of dead people," said Kumar.

During the past two days, incessant rains battered the hill state triggering landslides, cloud bursts and flash floods which flattened homes and stranded hundreds of pilgrims with the chardham yatra coming to a grinding halt.

The Garhwal region bore the brunt of the natural disaster in the wake of heavy rains with the government sounding a high alert in the state.

The army has also been alerted in the wake of the heavy rains in the hill state.

Elsewhere in the state, three people were killed in Chamoli district following heavy rains since Saturday.

The government has launched relief and rescue operations and has sent food packets to the affected people.

Nearly, 250 families have already been taken to safer areas in the different areas of Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts.

Kumar said only six people are now missing from different parts of the district. "We have launched a manhunt to trace the missing people," he said.

Efforts were on to reopen blocked highways leading to chardham yatra as scores of pilgrims were still stranded at various places at Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts.

The landslides are common in the fragile hills of Garhwal region causing disruption of roads which in turn often cause road accidents leading to fatalities.

Last year, the government had suspended the chardham yatra all the four shrines Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri following heavy landslides and torrential rains for nearly one week.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was monitoring the situation and held a meeting with chief secretary Alok Kumar Jain to discuss the latest situation.

The CM asked the concerned authorities to speed up rescue and relief operation in the disaster-hit areas.

The CM also asked the concerned officers to reopen roads leading to the pilgrim shrines so that the stranded pilgrims can go home.

Official sources said the chief minister would shortly visit the rain-hit areas of the state to take stock of the situation.

The government is also sending a report to the centre for a relief package.

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