Bodies of 36 people who were presumed dead have been recovered after flash floods devastated parts of Chamoli district on Sunday. Efforts are still underway to rescue as many as 30 workers trapped inside the Tapovan Tunnel. Bodies of two missing people were recovered from the banks of the Alaknanda river. So far, bodies of 36 people out of 206 have been recovered. District Magistrate Swati S Bhadoria said that search operations to locate 168 remaining people are underway.
In what seems to be a ray of hope, two persons were found alive, said Bhadoria. Rescue agencies began drilling through the debris in the Tapovan Tunnel to reach the 30 people believed to be trapped inside.
Rescue operations were stalled after the Dhauliganga River began swelling again. On Thursday before the water levels rose, agencies cleared up 120 metres. It is believed that workers are trapped at a depth of 180 metres.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla chaired a meeting on Thursday to review the progress of the rescue and relief work at the NTPC hydro project site at Tapovan on the Dhauliganga River. Home Secretary Bhalla asked DRDO to deploy experts to analyse the situation after he was intimated about the action required to regulate the flow of water from the temporary obstruction that has formed upstream from the project.
The rescue agencies are making a fresh attempt to establish a 'life-saving system' by means of oxygen.
Vivek Kumar Pandey, spokesperson for lead rescue agency, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said that a drilling session was started by rescue teams at 2am to look into the slush-flushing tunnel about 12-13 metres below.
CM Trivendra Singh Rawat on Thursday approved the relocation of more than 50 families living in the areas extremely vulnerable to natural disasters in four of Uttarakhand's districts. The proposal is being drafted by the Disaster Management Department. Thirty families from Uttarkashi, 13 from Chamoli and four each from Bageshwar and Tehri districts will be relocated and rehabilitated.