Confusion has erupted over the actual figure of missing people from Madhya Pradesh in the Uttarakhand disaster last month. Going by the figures released by the Uttarakhand government, the number of missing people from Madhya Pradesh could be as high as 1,035.
The public relations department of MP government had put the figure of missing people at 541 in an official release on July 11. Earlier, the state government had filed a reply in high court on June 26, putting the number of missing people at 707.
Officer in-charge of missing cell of Uttarakhand government, Ajay Kumar Pradyut told HT over telephone from Dehradun that the details of all the people named on the missing list has been verified painstakingly and it is now certain that 1,035 from Madhya Pradesh are missing.
The Uttarakhand government representatives also called up the families of these people to confirm the details, he said.
Pradyut said the MP government had sent a list of 1,080 missing people to Uttarakhand government in two installments. However, during the reconciliation process, some names were found to be repeated and were thus deleted.
The officer said the final list had been e-mailed to chief secretary of MP on Saturday afternoon and on Monday a fax would be officially sent to the CS office. It would be only after counter confirmation of the list from MP government that the Uttarakhand government would start distributing compensation to the families of missing people.
MP chief secretary (CS) R Parasuram said the status of the missing people was being verified at district level and full documentation of every case with every small detail is being done before a final figure of missing people could be ascertained.
District collectors had also been asked to pay compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the kin of missing people after verifying each case systematically.
He added that it would be the MP government that would arrive at the final figure and not the Uttarakhand government. The figures of missing people could keep changing as some returned while new information about missing also kept coming in, the CS said.
The Uttarakhand government will be paying compensation of Rs. 5 lakh each to the families of missing people after July 16. Of this, Rs. 3 lakh is Central government compensation, while Uttarakhand government has contributed Rs. 2 lakh.
For this purpose, the missing cell of the Uttarakhand government has compiled a list of total 5,748 missing people and categorised them state-wise. After Uttar Pradesh, from where 2,000-odd people are missing, Madhya Pradesh has been shown as having second highest number of missing people at 1,035.