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Uttarakhand: Govt eyes mammoth airlift of excavators to Kedarnath,find buried bodies

Excavators to be carried onboard special Mi-26 helicopters; drones to survey area.

Written by Press Trust Of India | New Delhi | Published: June 28, 2013 7:41:50 pm

Government is planning to airlift excavators to flood-ravaged Uttarakhand regions for clearing boulders and debris accumulated in Kedarnath and to try and uncover dead bodies.

With a large number of people still missing,and their bodies feared trapped under layers of debris and slush in the flood-hit state,the focus now will be on finding them,says Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

M Sashidhar Reddy,Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) who returned from the flood-hit state,said “boulders and huge debris have accumulated at Kedarnath and we are planning to carry excavators onboard special Mi-26 helicopters to clear the debris there.

“The issue of landing the helicopters are also being worked out,” he told reporters.

He said places,where rescue operations have been carried out,will be surveyed again through Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) like ‘Netra’.

Briefing on the current situation in the flood-hit state,Reddy mentioned the number of affected villages and the current relief work status as well as the measures undertaken to maintain public health.

“Out of the total 22,000 villages in the state,2,375 have been affected. Out of them,1,636 have been connected so far while the rest 739 are yet to be connected,” he said.

“A team in charge of the medical preparedness is in Dehradun along with top officials of the Health Ministry. Fifty doctors are currently on standby to go to affected areas in the shortest time. Some may be even required to stay there for the next 2-3 months as we see rehabilitation,” he added.

No report of any kind of epidemic has been received so far,he said.

“So far 1,04,095 people have been rescued. But 1,400 people in Badrinath are still waiting,” Reddy said.

“About 1,000 people are stranded in Pithoragarh who are assumed to be on their way to Mansarovar. But their situation in not that of an emergency. People in Harsil have been rescued,” he added.

The Home Minister has ordered pressing into service more helicopters for relief and rescue operations and 105 satellite phone have already been used,Reddy said.

Regarding the victims of the helicopter crash two days ago,the vice-chairman said “he had written a letter to the Home Minister seeking extraordinary pensions with allowances for the next of kin of the victims akin to the compensation for the paramilitary soldiers who die in Naxal attacks.

“Eighty per cent of mobile towers damaged in the disaster have been restored. As for roads,Border Road Organisation has been told to make mule tracks where roads are not possible and build pavements so that relief materials can be carried on the other side where roads exist,” he added.

He said NDMA is providing additional manpower and technical support to local administration for clearing the debris.

DNA sampling of the dead bodies will be done and scattered bodies will be cremated with due honour.

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