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81 pilgrims from state still missing

Published: 05th July 2013 10:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th July 2013 10:03 AM   |  A+A-

The fate of as many as 81 pilgrims from the State, who had gone on the Char Dham Yatra to Uttarakhand, is still unknown. The State Disaster Management officials said missing persons’ names were placed on the website.

The State government has so far declared that 13 pilgrims from the State had died in Uttarakhand floods. “We confirmed death toll of 13 relying on eye-witness accounts of their relatives,” a functionary who monitored relief and rescue operations in Uttarakhand told Express on Thursday. The officials were clueless when asked about the fate of the 81 missing pilgrims.

Meanwhile, authorities cremated 30 bodies in Gaurikund. Mass cremation in the base camp started on Wednesday and by Thursday evening seven more were consigned to flames, DIG Amit Sinha told Express.

“Most of the bodies are trapped under debris and extricating safely is a herculean task. At the same time we have deployed a seven-member team which is exploring new routes to find out if more bodies are buried under debris. It may take few more days to complete the process,” Sinha added.

He said at cremation grounds including Kedarnath, Haridwar and Gaurikund, 94 bodies were properly cremated by Thursday.

“There are several bodies buried in debris at Kedarnath. We couldn’t extricate them due to intermittent rain.  Some bodies that were exposed to sun light are completely decomposed, others are fine,” Sinha added.

On the other hand, officials could air drop food items for only 72 villages due to bad weather and people of at least 152 affected villages are still awaiting help.

While efforts are being made to use all means of transport to reach relief materials to the victims, officials are also struggling to restore power supply to 240 villages which are still left out after electricity has been provided to 3,518 affected villages.

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