Over a week after flash floods took their toll on life and property in Uttarakhand, residents of villages near Kedarnath are facing acute food shortage, with most of them blaming the state government for neglecting them.
The villagers are now venting their anger against their elected representatives. Madav Karnataki, a former village pradhan, said a large number of villages that had been cut off by roads were facing food crisis.
“Over the past week people used up all their rations and even then at places such as Trijuginarain and Gaurikund they shared their limited rations with the pilgrims and tourists,” said Madav.
“We have used up our existing stocks of rice, flour, sugar and even kerosene, but there has been no support from the government,” Rakesh, a resident of Kalimath village, said. “Now, we have no option but to walk 10km to Guptkashi to try and get rations.” Rakesh was stuck in Badrinath for several days, before he was able to return home.
According to villagers, the state government has made no effort to provide food in villages, particularly those near Guptkashi and Ukhimath, including Kalimath, Kotma, Jal, Chomasi, Kilon, Rawn Leink, where roads have been damaged due to landslides.
“We have not heard from our MP or MLA ever since the calamity occurred. Perhaps they have also gone missing in the floods,” Madav, a villager, said, the sarcasm in his voice only too apparent.
Residents complained that although truckloads of relief materials reached places like Guptkashi, no effort was made by the authorities to reach out to remote villages.
District development officer Sunil Kumar, who is supervising the relief work at Guptkashi, said the administration was planning to send food material to far flung villages by helicopters.
Task cut out for forensic team
Guptkashi: As the remaining family members of the missing leave for their homes, the task is cut out for Dayal Saran from the CID and his team of forensic officers involved in collecting DNA samples of the unclaimed bodies and making a database for identification.
“We will be collecting DNA samples of the bodies,” Saran said at Chardham helipad here. “Mainly we will be extracting hair with the root, a piece of skin and teeth. We will make a database of the data gathered, and begin the identification process.”
He was here with his five-member team waiting for a helicopter to take them to Kedarnath.
Waiting to leave with the forensic and police teams were two priests —Anil Shastri and Dinesh Bhagwari, who would carry out the final rites.
“The Hindu religion prescribes that the dead shall be given a proper cremation,” Shastry said. “It is important for us as well as the relatives of the deceased to know that their loved ones were cremated according to the rituals.”