Almost over a month since the Uttarakhand disaster,families in Pune continue to look for their missing relatives. They refuse to give up hope of receiving some news about their relatives,at least for a a few more months.
As most of them had set off on their own rescue missions in search of their relatives,many are returning disappointed. However,their disappointment has failed dampen their spirit altogether,because they still have hope in their hearts. They still wait for the roads to clear in Guptakashi and find their loved ones alive.
Vasant Kamathe,whose wife and other relatives are still missing,believes that she might have survived and hopes for rescue workers to keep searching for her and the other missing people.
One month is too short a time for rescue operations to complete. I get comfort in knowing that the CM of Uttarakhand has announced that rescue operations will continue. They must keep up their efforts for another two months. Maybe,after three months,we could find some closure, said Kamathe.
His son,Abhijeet,along with some relatives recently returned from Rishikesh after an extensive search for their missing relatives in Dehradhun in Haridwar.
Their movement was restricted as vehicle drivers refused to go near the ruined parts of the state. Though their efforts were rendered unfruitful,a few relatives remained behind to wait for the roads to clear so that they can have access to the interior areas of the ruined state.
My relatives were in the disaster area at 11.30 am,and the tragedy took place at 8.30 pm. They had ample time to get to a safer place. I have hope that they might have been stuck at the settlements in the jungles, said Abhijeet,whose next plan of action would be to file an FIR.
Nilesh Dattaray Ninav agrees with Kamathe,when he says It is too early for me to accept,or even think for a moment that they are not going to return. His parents went on a pilgrimage to Rishikesh with a group of 25 people,none of whom were found by rescue workers. They could have found shelter in the jungle or over the hills. They could be anywhere. When people go missing,they are not declared dead for over seven years even when they are not found,then why is this hurry in announcing the missing people in Uttarkhand dead? asks Ninav,who believes his questions will be answered only if the rescue teams keep up the extensive search over the following two months at the least.
Pranav Jadgal (name changed) hurried to Rishikesh from London as soon as he heard the news of his mother going missing in the tragedy. I cannot go home without answers. I need to know,and confirm it once and for all,for both myself and my family,whether my mother is dead or alive, he said.
After meeting other relatives of missing people from Pune,he formed a group and led the searches through all the areas he could gain access to in the tragedy-hit state.
I will continue to look for my mother no matter how long it takes. I cannot make peace with the loose ends. If we lose hope now and presume she is dead,we will feel disturbed and very guilty if after three or four months another survivor is found. We would feel we did not make enough efforts to look for her, says Jadgal.
While the families desperately wait for roads to clear up so the interiors of the jungles become accessible to the rescuers,their ray of hope dims at the thought of not finding their relatives grows stronger. All the answers they seek are hidden behind the road blocks,which once cleared could deliver unbounded joy or immense sorrow,but in both cases,it will provide the families with some kind of closure.