Updated: February 23, 2021 8:18:16 am
The Uttarakhand State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel Monday widened the opening of a lake — formed upstream of the Rishi Ganga river in Chamoli district following the flash floods — to reduce pressure on the lake’s walls and increase water outflow amid apprehensions about another deluge.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, meanwhile, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and apprised him about the relief and rescue operations in Joshimath area.
“Mouth of the stream coming out of the lake has been widened from 20 feet to 35 feet today to increase outflow of water and reduce pressure on the lake walls. Wood logs, which are collected at the lake opening and disrupting water flow, are being removed,” said Ridhim Aggarwal, DIG, SDRF, and Additional CEO, Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority.
In a joint operation with the Air Force on Saturday, Navy divers had calculated the lake’s average depth to be around 8 metres, based on which it was estimated to have contained 50,000 cubic metres of water.
Aggarwal said the SDRF team will camp at the lake for a few more days to widen the opening as much as possible and also explore the possibility of creating more channels. She said efforts are being made to ensure that the lake does not contain dangerous water levels.
Apart from the SDRF team, there are 10 scientists at the lakeside camp, including from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Geological Survey of India, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and Uttarakhand Space Application Centre.
In his meeting with Shah, Rawat requested the setting up of Uttarakhand Himnad and Water Resource Research Centre, a helicopter for regular monitoring of remotely-located disaster-prone areas and the international borders, an RRB battalion in Gairsain, and deployment of a special team equipped with anti-drone technology in view of Kumbh mela.
Rawat also requested to withdraw inner-line permit in Niti valley of Chamoli district and Nelang valley of Uttarkashi district for better border management and expansion of economic activities in the villages located there. According to a release from the CM’s office, the Home Minister gave in-principle approval to all the demands and assured every possible support.
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