Can a memorial be built for victims of 2013 Kedarnath tragedy, HC asks govt
The Uttarakhand high court on Thursday asked the state government to explore whether a memorial could be built for victims of 2013 Kedarnath flash floods where pilgrims could offer prayers for the departed souls, especially on the anniversary of the tragedy in mid-June.
The HC also directed the authorities concerned to preserve samples of DNA if remains of any individual are found.
The orders were issued by the single bench of Justice VK Bisht, said said Ajay Gautam, a resident of Delhi and petitioner in the case.
The court will next hear the matter on August 20.
Gautam had filed the PIL in 2014 alleging that government was not coming clear on the actual number of casualties in the tragedy. He had also demanded that steps be taken to ensure proper last rites of the victims and a record of the biometric details of the visitors be maintained by the state government.
In December last year, responding to the PIL, a division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Alok Singh had directed the state government to constitute special teams to trace the bodies lying scattered or buried in the Kedarnath area.
The HC had also directed that the final rites of the victims be undertaken in accordance with the tradition.
In November 2016, the HC had directed the state government to form special investigation teams (SITs) to trace and cremate the bodies of the disaster victims. Following the directions, the state government in May last year had constituted five SITs for searching the bodies of the victims.
Even after nearly five years of the tragedy, there is still no conclusive clarity on the number of people who died.
According to an affidavit filed by the state government in the HC, bodies of only 678 people could be recovered out of more than 4,000 people who went missing. Of these, 545 bodies were recovered in 2013, followed by 63 in 2014, three in 2015, 60 in 2016 and seven last year.
The state government has issued over 2,800 death certificates in the tragedy, while death certificates of many are on the hold due to unavailability of ‘missing persons’ reports that were to be lodged at the respective native places of the victims.
A team of central goods and services tax (CGST) was assaulted by a family and their accomplices during a raid on Friday afternoon at Basant Avenue here. Following the complaint filed by CGST Inspector, Sadar police lodged an FIR against house owner Yashpal Mehta, his daughters-in-law Alka Mehta and Shakumbra Mehta, his daughter and their accomplices, who are yet to be identified. They carried a search warrant also. Yashpal Mehta manhandled Assistant Commissioner Hemant Kumar.
Work on cleaning more than 7.5 lakh metric tonnes of legacy waste rotting at the Dadumajra landfill since 2005 is finally set to start within a month. In its second attempt at allotting the work, the municipal corporation on Friday finalised the firm. Of the three shortlisted companies, Aakanksha Enterprises had submitted the lowest bid of ₹79.68 crore and after negotiations, it has been brought on par with the project's estimated cost of ₹68 crore.
A 17-year-old boy was hacked to death by seven members of a family over an old rivalry in Ambala's Dadiyana village on Thursday night. Three of the accused, Gautam, Balram and his brother Gulshan, were arrested on Friday, said Ambala Sadar SHO inspector Manish. The absconding accused include three brothers – Sonu, Rameshwar, who is Gautam's father, and Ramnath, who is Balram and Gulshan's father, apart from Ramnath's another son Vikas, the prime accused.
In an endeavour to help jail inmates and former convicts to join the mainstream by empowering them, Sangrur jail authorities will be soon setting up a petrol pump, right outside the jail premises, which will be entirely run by the inmates. The jail authorities had sought a no-objection certificate from Sangrur administration before bypolls of Sangrur Lok Sabha and now it has got the official nod.
A day after a 68-year-old man from Sector 8 succumbed to Covid-19 in Chandigarh, two more senior citizens lost the battle to the virus in the city on Friday. The deceased included a 99-year-old woman from Sector 11 and an 87-year-old woman from Sector 28. Apart from the two deaths, Chandigarh also recorded a spike in its daily Covid cases. As many as 103 new infections were detected on Friday, compared to 84 on Thursday.