A state police team in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand has found 68 more bodies in the higher reaches of the Kedar valley, which were earlier inaccessible due to bad weather.
The 25-member team, led by DIG GS Martolia, has been camping at Kedarnath valley for more than one-and-a-half months and recovered 166 bodies in the past four days alone.
So far, as many as 378 bodies have been recovered and cremated with necessary rituals, a senior police officer said.
According to police, the recovery of number of bodies from Kedar Valley has picked up in the past four days for comparatively clear weather that has allowed the police team to intensify search work at high-altitude ridges.
The police said they have widened their hunting sites from valley to ridges, where victims escaped to save their lives during the mid-June deluge that killed many and resulted in the loss of properties worth crores of rupees.
Of the 166 bodies recovered in the past four days, eight were unearthed and cremated on September 3, 36 on September 4 and 54 on September 5. As many as 68 bodies were pulled out of flood debris on steep ridges above the Alaknanda River valley. The bodies were recovered between Kedanrtha shrine area and Rambara, areas that were worst affected by the rains.
"The search operation has been intensified as the weather conditions have cleared now. Even then our team members have to work under tiring conditions from morning till evening, but that has to be done for a cause… we cannot shirk our responsibilities,”said DIG (Garhwal) Amit Sinha.
The team members engaged in the search operation include mountaineering experts and civil police staff to coordinate with them for carrying out the task successfully, he added.