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'The worst is over in Uttarakhand'

By LAXMI NEGI
February 08, 2021 20:54 IST
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'Joro shoro se rescue operation chal raha hai.'

Dhan Singh Rawat

IMAGE: Uttarakhand Minister Dhan Singh Rawat (in white jacket) meets the affected families. All Photographs: Kind courtesy Dhan Singh Rawat/Facebook
 

After the glacier burst calamity which wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district on Sunday, search and rescue operations are in full swing.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat met the affected families along with Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Union Minister of State for Power Raj Kumar Singh, Pauri MP Tirath Singh Rawat and Uttarakhand Minister Dhan Singh Rawat.

"The CM has already instructed the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, with the department of science and technology to study other glacier activities," Uttarkhand Minister Dhan Singh Rawat tells Laxmi Negi/ Rediff.com.

Dhan Singh Rawat

How many villages are affected?

At least 13 villages are cut off.

Today (Monday, February 8), in the morning, we went to the Tapovan area and Raini village with seven helicopters, doctors and food packages.

The government announced Rs 6 lakh financial assistance each for the families of those killed in the mishap and Rs 50,000 for the injured.

How are the rescue operations going on?

Currently, a joint team of the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police), NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), Indian Army, SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) are involved in a massive rescue operation.

The ITBP is also using sniffer dogs to aid in the operation. Joro shoro se rescue operation chal raha hai (rescue operations are in full swing).

There are many glaciers in Uttarakhand; was this discussed in the meeting with the chief minister?

The CM has already instructed the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, with the department of science and technology to study other glacier activities.

Dhan Singh Rawat

What are the losses the state government is staring at?

The power minister (Raj Kumar Singh) was with us. The avalanche has caused an estimated loss of Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion) to the NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation's C) 480 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project.

Those projects have been washed away. There are no signs of them. We will know the exact numbers in 2-3 days' time.

But, for now, we are concentrating on rescue operations and saving more lives.

Can you compare this disaster with the 2013 Kedarnath floods?

Both disasters happened so quickly that there was no time to react.

The state government had immediately put Srinagar, Haridwar and Rishikesh on high alert, but the worst is over.

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