Angst grows as rescue work slows down in Chamoli


Dehradun, Feb 10: As the rescue work slowed down in the disaster-hit areas of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, the angst among the close relatives of all those who are missing is growing as they feel the search operation is lingering on.

Groups of people held protests at a number of places in the disaster-hit areas such as the Reni village and the project sites, urging the government to speed up the rescue operation.

They even accused the government of putting its main focus on the disaster-hit tunnel of NTPC's 520 MW Tapovan Vishnugaud project that was blocked by the deluge on Sunday morning.

"We want quick results. We don't have time. They are focusing only on the tunnel and forgetting that a large number of people have gone missing in the other areas as well," said Ghanshyam Thapliyal, whose younger brother Anoop is missing.

The agitating locals also lodged a protest with the district administration in this regard.

The work has slowed down since Tuesday due to the presence of heavy silt inside a tunnel of the disaster-hit Tapovan hydel project in Chamoli district.

"We will explore all the possibilities to save the lives of the trapped people," said DGP Ashok Kumar, denying that the search operations have slowed down in the other areas.

"We are conducting searches with the help of boats at a number of places in the Alakananda river," Kumar added.

The rescuers are toiling hard to save 25-35 people trapped inside the tunnel of the Tapovan Vishnugaud project.

After the digging and excavation works, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, have managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel. But the presence of heavy silt inside the tunnel has slowed down the rescue work, top government officials admitted.

Rescuers are using special gadgets in the search to speed up the rescue operation inside the tunnel. However, no contact has been established yet with the trapped people inside.

The state government has stated that nearly 200 people are missing, while 34 bodies have been recoveredso far.


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