NAINITAL: The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday, while hearing a public interest litigation stating that 3322 people are still missing in the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy, asked the Wadiya Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun to apprise the court about what steps can be taken to find the missing people in the tragedy.
Ajay Veer Pundir, counsel for the petitioner said, “The honorable court has asked the eminent institution to apprise the court of technical aspects of the issue. The court wants to know what can be done to find the people who are still missing." A time period of two weeks has been granted to inform the court.
A public interest litigation filed by Ajay Gautam, a resident of Delhi stated that these people are still missing even after 6 years of the tragedy.
In the petition, Gautam requested the court to direct the state government to constitute a committee of experts which may search/suggest appropriate technology for search of persons alleged to be dead by the state government,
He also sought the government to constitute search teams en-route the Kedarnath temple track (via Sonparayag-Gauri kund–Rambara–Kedarnath temple-Chorabari glacier) and surrounding areas to conduct search operations and submit their status report with regard to the missing persons/dead bodies, to ensure that no untreated sewage is discharged in the rivers en-route to chardham.
Gautam also requested to put a restriction on the mass movement by keeping biometric records at religious shrines of the hill state and to take proper and expedient steps in accordance with provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005 with regard to search of missing persons /dead bodies,
Gautam, in his petition has said that according to state government records, 3322 dead bodies are still ‘buried/ lying/scattered’ in Kedar valley and surrounding area of Kedarnath temple since June 2013.
The tragedy often called as ‘Himalyan Tsunami’ caused the death of over 10,000 people with 4021 people going missing. "In the course of expeditions to find missing people, out of total 908 persons who gave DNA samples for matching with missing persons/dead bodies, only 33 samples matched and 875 persons are still in search of their relatives," added the petition.
The petition also stated that the time has come to "wake up the Governments from their deep slumbers and take appropriate steps with regard to search for 3322 missing persons/ dead bodies (approximately)" and frame the rules to regulate of the Chaar Dhaam Yatra and other religious places of Uttrakhand with regard to safety and security of pilgrims/tourists.