Relief operations resumed in disaster-hit Uttarakhand on Tuesday as the weather cleared up after three days even as most of the personnel engaged in clearing debris and cremating bodies at Kedarnath were withdrawn with the state government deciding to replace them with a new team.
Fifty-five of the 75-member team consisting of experts and trained personnel from different departments were recalled from Kedarnath as many of them were suffering from stomach related problems and many wanted to come back having spent more than a week in high altitudes, Director General of Police Satyavarat Bansal told PTI.
"However, it should not be interpreted as a pull-out. The idea is to replace the tired personnel engaged in the operations with a new team," he said. Ten police personnel and as many PWD men are still at the Himalayan shrine to carry out the operations and will soon be joined in by a new team, the DGP said.
According to him, 93 bodies have so far been disposed of with necessary rituals in Kedarghati and the next challenge is now removing tonnes of debris from the shrine area and extricating bodies if any.
"But we need heavy equipment to accomplish this task and transporting them to the high altitude shrine will be tough," Bansal said. The new team will establish itself at Garurchatti in Rudraprayag district tomorrow and begin searching for bodies there and adjoining areas like Rambara, he said.
Chamoli District Magistrate S A Murugesan said distribution of relief material to affected villages which was affected severely by bad weather for the past three days was resumed this afternoon as the skies cleared up.
Tonnes of relief material were flown to Badrinath, Pulna, Govindghat and Ghoraparav in a helicopter which made about four sorties from Joshimath. Another chopper is operating from Gwaldam to transport relief material to Tula and Chapoli villages, he said.