Lt Gen Anil Chait, army commander, central command, who has personally directed relief and rescue operation, is due to be moved out of the emergency theatre where thousands continue to be stranded across various parts of Uttarakhand.
Chait, who is to take over as the chief of the Integrated Defence Staff on July 1, will have to leave the mammoth relief and rescue operation to his successor.
“The new commander will have to acclimatise to the task,’’ said a senior army officer on the condition of anonymity.
The central command is coordinating one of the largest human rescue operations in its history, particularly at a time when the state has largely been incapable of coming to the aid of the thousands who got stranded after flash floods triggered a tragedy of gargantuan proportion.
Officers in Lucknow-based central command are worried that with the weather packing up, the relief and rescue operation will continue for at least another week if not more. Continuity will be hampered as Chait was in the thick of operations, personally visiting affected areas and helping with the rescue work.
In the past few days that the operation has been on in full swing, Chait visited Guptkashi, Gauri Kund, Jungle Chatti, Goucher and Uttarkashi and reassured the stranded that they would be evacuated to safety.
The next phase involves evacuating people by road from the hubs at Badrinath, Gauri Kund and Harsil.
Officers at the central command are surprised that Chait’s departure has so far not been deferred by a few days, till an all-clear is signaled.