U’khand Deluge: Procedures for declaring missing persons dead begin

As the rescuers continue to find more bodies in the disaster-hit Chamoli district in Uttarkhand, the state government has initiated the procedures to declare the missing persons dead in the February 7 deluge on the lines of the calamitous floods in Kedarnath in 2013.

The move would help quick distribution of the compensation and other benefits to the family members of all those who were killed in the floods in Rishiganga river in Chamoli district.

In a circular issued by the state health secretary Amit Negi, the designated officers have been asked to follow certain procedures like filing of FIRs, detailed inquiries, publishing names of missing persons in the media and state gazettes, among others. In case no claims or objections are received within 30 days, the designated office should issue the death certificate, Negi said.

The death certificate should be given free of cost, he said.

In case of objections, the matter should be referred to the district magistrates who after following due procedures can issue death certificates or deny them.

Meanwhile, two bodies were found in the reservoir of the Srinagar-Alaknanda hydel project on Monday as NDRF-SDRF workers continued their operation at the disaster-hit areas of Chamoli district.

Due to heavy water and sludge, excavation work is going on at a slow pace inside the tunnel of the Tapovan project where 13 bodies out of the 25-35 buried people have been recovered so far, officials said.

The tunnel has already been dug at a level of 170m deep and 6m in slope. Water is continuously being pumped out of the tunnel, they said.

Nearly 204 persons went missing after the February 7 deluge in the Rishiganga river.

A total of 70 bodies have been recovered so far. Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered.

The rescuers are working on two major places – one inside the tunnel and the other at the remains of the Rishiganga project in Reni. Sniffer dogs are also being used in the rescue operation near Reni village. Besides, the searches are also being carried out in the rivers.

After days of digging and excavation works, jawans of the army and the ITBP have been withdrawn from the recue operation. Now only NDRF and SDRF personnel are engaged in the rescue works.