Uttarakhand floods: No headway in rescue work

Uttarakhand floods: No headway in rescue work

Dehradun, February 17, 2021

Rescuers are finding it difficult to make further progress inside a tunnel of the disaster-hit Tapovan power project in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand due the presence of water and sludge.

The region was hit by flash floods on February 7 following a glacier burst and about 200 people were reported missing after the incident, including more than 30 workers of the NTPC's Tapovan power project who were trapped in a tunnel.

A total of 58 bodies have been recovered so far. Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered, said state Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar.

However, he said the recue operation would continue till the last man or body is found inside the tunnel.

Two bodies were found inside the tunnel early on Tuesday morning. "The rescue operation is going on at a slow pace due to the presence of heavy sludge and also as a precautionary measure," a top government official said.

An NTPC official said the tunnel has already been dug up to 160 metres inside.

During the excavation work inside the tunnel, 11 bodies have been found so far. "We are expecting more bodies as we are not hoping for survivors now," admitted the official. There is no contact with the remaining trapped people inside.

The rescuers are working at two locations – one inside the tunnel and other at the remains of the Rishiganga project in Reni. Sniffer dogs are also being used in the rescue operation near Reni village.

After days of digging and excavation work, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, have managed open a sizeable portion of the tunnel.

IANS

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