After Chamoli tragedy, minister says will form dept to monitor glaciers via satellite
Following the calamity in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, irrigation minister Satpal Maharaj on Monday said that all angles must be probed and added that a department would be formed to monitor all the glaciers through satellite.
“All angles (related to the Chamoli glacier burst) should be investigated. We will form a department so that we can monitor and study all the glaciers through satellite,” he told news agency ANI.
The minister’s statement comes as the toll due to the flash floods in Chamoli following the glacier burst last week has climbed to 58. A total of 11 more bodies have been recovered from the 1.7 kilometre-long Tapovan rescue tunnel in Joshimath and 146 people are still missing, ANI reported on Tuesday.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel along with the National Disaster Response Force and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operations in the Chamoli district for the past 10 days.
On Monday, another team of rescuers was clearing sludge from another small underground tunnel beneath the main tunnel where about 30 of the total 35 workers were feared to be trapped.
Rescuing the trapped people is now possible only with the help of excavators, Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauria told PTI. When asked about the chances of people surviving who are still missing or trapped in the tunnel, the district magistrate said, "We must always try to be hopeful when the circumstances are adverse."
Even as hopes dim, families of some of the missing people continue to remain at the rescue site near the tunnel, as they gather the courage to take a look every time a body is brought out. However, many are beginning now to return to their homes, according to PTI.
According to NTPC officials cited by PTI, bodies pulled out from the tunnel till Monday appear to be of workers who ran towards its mouth in an attempt to get out but got bogged down in the slush that was gushing in.
The last rites of those pulled out dead are being carried out after samples are taken for DNA tests to help establish their identities.
As relief efforts continue, kits with foodgrain and other essentials are being supplied to residents to a dozen villages that were cut off from the district headquarters after the disaster.
(With agency inputs)