Will stay till last person is rescued in Uttarakhand: Army chief

  • PTI, Gauchar
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 30, 2013 14:37 IST
  • ITBP

    ITBP personnel rescue victims through a rope bridge fixed on Alaknanda river at Lambagad en route to Badrinath. UNI

  • ITBP

    ITBP personnel rescue victims through a rope bridge fixed over Alaknanda river at Lambagad en route to Badrinath. UNI Photo

  • A child

    A child cries after seeing her parents and the ITBP jawan smiles on the sucess of his rescue effort at Govindghat en route to Badrinath. ...

  • A woman

    A woman cries in pain she is carried by soldiers from an army helicopter during a rescue operation at Joshimath in Uttarakhand. Reuters

  • Soldiers

    Soldiers carry boxes of relief supplies as an army helicopter flies overhead during a rescue operation at Joshimath in Uttarakhand. Reuters

  • Indian army

    An Indian army soldier comforts an injured Indian pilgrim after he was rescued from the higher reaches of mountains, at a makeshift helipad at Joshimath, ...

  • ITBP

    Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel rescue stranded people across a flooded river. Reuters

  • Ambulance

    People push an ambulance through a damaged section of the road caused by overnight rains in Gauchar. AFP Photo

  • Stranded pilgrims

    Stranded pilgrims wait to be rescued on the side of a river at Govind Ghat.  AFP Photo

  • Indian army

    Indian army personnel help stranded people cross a flooded river after heavy rains in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. Reuters

Sending a word of assurance, Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Friday said the armed forces would continue their operations till all the people stranded in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand were rescued.

Gen Singh, who is on a day-long visit to affected areas, said he had asked his commanders to launch relief operations in "very, very difficult conditions" in a proactive manner, without waiting for any requisition from authorities.

"We are getting information that there may still be some survivors in certain areas. Like I am told, yesterday we had an input that in north of Badrinath there were some people, 40 of them. We had launched sorties on Friday but couldn't detect them.

"We will be doing it again, if the weather permits. But endeavour is to locate all our citizens, wherever they are, and get them out," he told reporters in Gauchar.

Gen Singh said he was visiting the area to laud the efforts of over 8,000 personnel of the army, along with the troops of the ITBP, NDRF and IAF.

"This is also an opportunity to offer my condolences to people who lost their lives in the chopper crash. My heart goes out to them," he said.

Many of the troops deployed in relief operations are from Garhwal Rifles unit, the army chief said, adding that Garhwal Scouts are from Uttarakhand and their families were also impacted by the flash floods.

"They are sons of the soil and a large number of them have been affected too. I must tell you these boys have refused to take leave to attend to their kith and kin and rather render their duties. We all had a phenomenal synergy," Gen Singh said.

On coordination among the forces operating in the area, Gen Singh said it was a "difficult operation but agencies worked in unison" to achieve the objectives.

"All the agencies have done their bit and let's not count numbers. It was the synergy between all the agencies. The IAF has done a great job. There was a challenge as there were no roads and communication. I have come here to compliment the boys and give them 'shabashi'," he said.

Lauding the efforts made by Central Army Commander Lt Gen Anil Chait, Gen Singh said he had instructed him not to wait for any requisition before launching relief operations.

"And that's what he did. From a footprint of 500, today we have 8000 troops, who were inducted into this area. I think It was a very speedy move undertaken by the Army commander, his formation commanders (and) unit commanders," he said.

On the status of people stranded in Harshil and Badrinath, Gen Singh said they were getting essentials such as food and have been provided access to communication, and would be taken out from the areas, depending on the weather conditions.

After visiting Gauchar, the Army Chief said he will take an aerial view of the flood-ravaged areas, and will return to Dehradun by the afternoon, where he is scheduled to meet chief minister Vijay Bahuguna.

Army, since June 17, has deployed around 8,000 personnel along with its choppers for rescue operations.

 

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