Uttarakhand deluge: Cabinet Secy directs agencies to work in co-ordination

New Delhi, Feb 7 : Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Sunday directed all the agencies concerned to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the administration in Uttarakhand where over 150 people were missing following by a massive flood near a power project in Joshimath area of the state’s Chamoli district.

Gauba emphasised the need to account for all missing persons and ensure that those trapped in tunnels are rescued at the earliest.

Chairing the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) meeting to review the situation arising out of the natural disaster in Uttarakhand caused by the glacier burst, he also directed that surveillance should be maintained till rescue efforts are completed and the situation returns to normalcy.

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The meeting was attended by Home Secretary, Power Secretary, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Director General, the CIDS, members of the National Disaster Management Agency, the National Disaster Response Force’s Director General, the Central Water Commission Chairman, the India Meteorological Department’s Director General, and the Defence Research and Development Organisation Chairman along with other senior officers. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary joined the meeting with his team.

The Secretary briefed the NCMC through video conferencing on the ground situation as well as the actions taken by them after the incident to evacuate people and to contain the damage caused by the flooding.

The glacial burst led to the rising of water levels in the river Rishi Ganga, which washed away the Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW. The flash flood also affected the downstream hydro project of NTPC at Tapovan on the river Dhauliganga, which is a tributary of the river Alaknanda.

It was apprised that the flash flood occurred in Rishi Ganga at around 10.45 a.m. due to a glacier falling into it and exponentially increasing the volume of water. Due to this, the Rishi Ganga hydro project was completely devastated, ITBP Director General S.S. Deswal said.

ITBP has been playing a key role in the rescue operation in the disaster. More than 200 of its personnel are on the spot, and one column and Engineering Task Force (ETF) of Army, with all rescue equipment have been deployed. Navy divers are being flown in and aircrafts or helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are on standby.

At the same time, the agencies concerned of the Centre and the state were asked to keep a strict vigil on the situation, and a team from the DRDO which monitors avalanches, is being flown in for surveillance and reconnaissance. NTPC’s Managing Director has been asked to reach the affected site immediately.

It was further informed that over 17 persons trapped in a tunnel have been rescued by the ITBP; while efforts are on to rescue others trapped in another tunnel, which is being co-ordinated by the Army and the ITBP.

All out efforts are being made to ensure that all missing people are traced and accounted for.

Two teams of the NDRF are enroute and three additional teams have been flown in from Hindon and will reach the spot later in the night.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed during the meeting that there is no rainfall warning in the region for the next two days.

There is no danger of downstream flooding and the rise in water level has been contained, as per the information given by the CWC. “There is also no threat to the neighbouring villages,” it said.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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