Even as different agencies focus on rescuing stranded pilgrims and others, the the National Disaster Management Authority’s pointsman VK Duggal has told the Uttarakhand government not to forget the dead.
Duggal’s advice came after a high-level coordination meeting in Delhi that saw central agencies at the forefront of the relief and rescue effort point to the slow pace of disposing off the bodies.
Officials at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police that is leading the rescue effort said it was for the state government to quickly carry out the legal formalities and perform the last rites.
Duggal – who left for Dehradun soon after the review – told HT this was an issue that was flagged at the coordination meeting and would be taken up with the state government.
Duggal, the NDMA member tasked to coordinate relief measures by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, rejected suggestions there were major coordination problems. In an operation of this size, however, he said, there are bound to be rough edges which he was trying to address. Much of this is due to lack of communication and we are emphasising on free flow of information amongst agencies.
For instance, officials said there were a scare of an impending shortage of petroleum products needed to keep the rescue efforts going. It turned out that the fuel tankers were on their way but the local authorities weren't kept adequately informed.