DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand state government has decided to declare those missing in the February 7 Chamoli disaster as dead.
A notification was issued by the state health secretary Amit Negi on Sunday invoking the Birth & Death Registration Act, 1969, under which the designated government officer will issue death certificates of the missing people to their family or relatives.
The notification dated February 21, 2021 stated, “In normal circumstances, the birth and death certificates are issued to a person at the place where he is born or died. But in extraordinary situations such as the Chamoli disaster, if a missing person is possibly dead beyond all possibilities of being alive but his body is yet to be found, in that case the authorities could declare him dead by issuing the death certificate to his family members after a required inquiry.”
Of the total 204 people, search and rescue operations have recovered 69 bodies while 135 are still missing.
The notification also added that 'missing persons' will be divided into three categories- Permanent residents of the affected areas and permanent residents of the nearby
areas of Uttarakhand who were present in the affected areas during the
catastrophe, residents of other districts of Uttarakhand who were present in the affected
areas during the catastrophe and tourists/persons from other states who were present in the affected areas during the catastrophe.
"The decision has been taken keeping in mind further course of action in terms of providing benefits, compensation to the families which lost their dear ones," said a highly placed official from the state government.
Meanwhile, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawans with SDRF and other agencies are on ground assessing the ground situation at the spot 8kms upstream from Raini village at Rishi Ganga river.
The team has widen the drainage passage of the lake removing tree trunks and other debris safely to ensure that the damming does not burst accidentally.
Officials from SDRF told TNIE that the drainage has brought the levels of the lake upto 8 meters which was around 9 meters earlier.
Multi-agency search operations are already on to recovered and locate the missing.
Ashok Kumar, director-general of police, Uttarakhand said, "Till date total 70 bodies and 29 body parts have been recovered. This rounds up the approximate count to 90. Samples are being taken and preserved for DNA test matching to confirm the identities of the missing. Rescue and search operation continues in Tapovan tunnel and nearby villages."
In the meantime, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat who is Delhi met various ministers on Tuesday including union defence minister Rajnath Singh, railway minister Piyush Goyal and Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to discuss issues and projects related to the state.
The CM met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. In the meet, he apprised the PM of operations concerning flashfloods in Chamoli and rescue work done by the government.