A total of 197 people are reported missing while 20 have died and 6 have been injured in the flash floods in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, according to the Centre. Those who are missing include 139 persons of the under-construction project of NTPC, 46 persons of the functional Rishi Ganga Project and 12 villagers. Union Home Minister Amit Shah informed parliament about the latest regarding avalanche in the upper catchment of Rishi Ganga River in Chamoli. However, media reports claim the death toll from the Uttarakhand disaster has risen to 31.
No danger of downstream flooding: Amit Shah
The Home Minister assured that there is no danger of downstream flooding and the rise in water level has been contained. The Centre and the State Government have been keeping a strict vigil on the situation.
Speaking in parliament on the basis of input received from the Uttarakhand government, Amit Shah said that the avalanche occurred at about 10 am on 7 February 2021 in the upper catchment area of the Rishi Ganga River, a tributary of the Alaknanda River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, which led to a sudden rise in the water level in the river and a functional Rishi Ganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW was washed away. The flash floods also affected the under construction 520 MW NTPC Hydro Power Project downstream at Tapovan on the river Dhauli Ganga.
He said, ‘It is observed from the satellite data (Planet Lab) at the terminus of the glacier at an altitude of 5600 m.a landslide triggered a snow avalanche covering approximately 14 sq km area causing a flash flood in the downstream of Rishi Ganga River.
12 from NTPC project, 15 from Rishi Ganga project rescued
According to the government, 12 persons from the NTPC project who were trapped in a tunnel have been rescued, 15 persons from the Rishi Ganga project have also been rescued. In another tunnel of the NTPC project, approximately 25–35 persons are suspected to have been trapped. Rescue operations to evacuate these persons is underway and all-out efforts are being made to search the missing persons.
The sate Government has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 4 lakh each to the next of kin of those who have lost their lives in the calamity.
Due to the washing away of one bridge, 13 villages around the place of occurence have been cut off. In these villages necessary supplies and medical assistance is being provided through helicopters.
Central government measures in wake of Uttarakhand floods
The situation is being monitored 24×7 by Central Government at the highest level. Prime Minister himself is monitoring the situation closely. Both Control Rooms of the Ministry of Home Affairs are monitoring the situation 24X7 and all possible help is being provided to the State. Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Power has visited the incident site and supervised the rescue and relief work.
– ITBP has set up their Control Room and 450 personnel of ITBP with all necessary equipment are engaged in rescue and relief operations.
– 5 NDRF teams have reached the place of incident and are engaged in rescue and relief operations.
– 8 teams of the Indian Army, including one Engineer Task Force (ETF), are carrying rescue operations at the incident site.
– One Medical column with two ambulances is also deployed.
– One diving team of the Indian Navy has also reached the site for the rescue operations.
– 5 helicopters of the Indian Air Force have also been engaged in the rescue operations.
– A Control Room has been established at Joshimath.
– In spite of adverse conditions at the incident site, search and rescue operations are continuously being carried out. After continuous and undaunted efforts since night, the Army has cleared debris at the opening of the tunnel to rescue the remaining persons trapped in it.
– All the staff of the Central Water Commission deployed in Alaknanda and Ganga Basin up to Haridwar are on the alert.
– One team of Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB) is also deployed at the site.
– The team of Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) has also reached the site for surveillance and reconnaissance.
Measures taken by Uttarakhand Government in wake of flood
The district administration, police and disaster management departments of the State Government along with all central agencies have been working for rescue and relief work. Two teams of SDRF have been deployed, 7 Medical teams with 8 ambulances of the State Health Department along with the Chief Medical Officer have been deployed. In addition to this, 5 helicopters have also been deployed for rescue and relief work. Electricity has been restored in almost all the affected areas. Restoration work of 05 completely damaged Bridges has been initiated by the PWD and BRO
Status of State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF)
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that in the financial year 2020-21, Rs 1041.00 crore has been allocated to the State of Uttrakhand under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF). The first installment of the Central share amounting to Rs 468.50 crore has been released to the State Government.