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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

A month on, 5,748 missing in Uttarakhand

Anupam Trivedi, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, July 15, 2013
First Published: 11:56 IST(15/7/2013) | Last Updated: 01:00 IST(16/7/2013)

Exactly a month after the devastating flash floods ravaged Garhwal hills in Uttarakhand, the officials on Monday said that list of the missing persons has been sent to the chief secretaries of various states. The missing will be declared dead only after the list is ‘reconciled’ by the concerned states.

This position is in stark contrast to chief minister Vijay Bahuguna’s recent statement that the government will declare all missing people dead on July 15. The change in position is due to the mounting pressure on the government from the relatives of those missing.

“We have compiled a list of missing people according to their states and the same has been send to chief secretaries. The government will declare missing dead after the states’ reconcile the list,” said Ajay Kumar Pradyot, secretary (in-charge), missing cell.

As per the state government’s list, 5700 people -- including pilgrims and locals -- are missing since the mid-June devastation. Majority of the missing pilgrims are from states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Delhi.

The relatives of those missing are not ready to give up the search yet. They are publishing advertisements in local dailies and offering cash rewards up to Rs. 10 lakh to anyone who can give information about their missing kin. 

Most of those reported missing were from Kedarnath shrine and Rambara, a small settlement that was seven km ahead of the shrine and was turned into just a pile of debris by the floods. The worst affected districts are Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag.

Yatra to 3 shrines from September
New Delhi: Three of the four shrines in the Char Dham yatra - Badrinath, Yamnotri and Gangotri - would be made accessible to devotees by September-end, Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna has announced. But management of various shrine committees are sceptical. They say rains till the end of August will make rebuilding roads very difficult.

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