'Prima facie looks like hanging glacier broke away from main structure': DRDO team in Uttarakhand

Updated on Feb 08, 2021 04:17 PM IST

Sunday's violent surge below Nanda Devi swept away the small Rishiganga hydro electric project and damaged a bigger one further down the Dhauliganga river being built by state firm NTPC. At least 18 bodies have been recovered so far.

ITBP personnel use machinery to clear muck as they try to enter a tunnel to rescue trapped workers of a power plant, in Tapovan area of Uttarakhand on Monday.(AP Photo)
ITBP personnel use machinery to clear muck as they try to enter a tunnel to rescue trapped workers of a power plant, in Tapovan area of Uttarakhand on Monday.(AP Photo)
By | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi

A team of specialists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which reached Uttarakhand early on Monday morning, conducted an aerial survey of the areas in Chamoli district which were devastated by flash flood triggered by glacier burst yesterday. The team said that it has collected data which will be analysed to understand the reason behind the natural disaster.

"Our team did an aerial survey of the glacier where incident took place in Chamoli. Prima facie it looks like a hanging glacier broke away from the main glacier and came down in the narrow valley," Dr LK Sinha, Director, Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment of the DRDO told news agency ANI.

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"In the valley it formed a lake which burst later and caused the damage. The data is being analysed by our scientists in detail and if required, they would again go to get more details," Dr Sinha further said.

At least 18 bodies have been recovered by the rescuers so far.

Sunday's violent surge below Nanda Devi, India's second-highest peak, swept away the small Rishiganga hydro electric project and damaged a bigger one further down the Dhauliganga river being built by state firm National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

Videos on social media showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment and bringing down small bridges.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is helping the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), its state counterpart, the army and Uttarakhand Police in searching for the missing people and rescuing the injured. The ITBP said that 13 villages have been cut off due to the incident.

"After bridge collapsed in Raini village during glacier burst, around 13 villages have been cut off near areas such as Malari and Ghansali," said Manoj Rawat, ADG, ITBP in Joshimath.

Rawat also said that dropping of food supply is underway in two of the affected villages - Lata and Raini.

Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said around 203 people are missing since the glacier burst. Most of the missing were people working on the two power projects.

Rescuers are trying to drill their way through a 2.5 km long tunnel at NTPC's Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site. It was 5 km downstream and NDRF and other rescuers believe 30 workers are trapped there.

The NDRF said on Monday that the rescue operations may continue for 48 hours.

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