U’khand plans to tag some missing ‘dead’https://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/ukhand-plans-to-tag-some-missing-dead/

U’khand plans to tag some missing ‘dead’

The state would obtain call details of the missing persons to confirm their last locations.

To ensure faster settlement of compensation claims,the Uttarakhand government is exploring ways to declare missing persons “dead”.

Though the law states that a missing person could be assumed dead only if he has not been seen or heard of for seven years,Uttarakhand chief secretary Subhash Kumar said it would not be a problem “in this case”. The state would obtain call details of the missing persons — it has asked the telecom ministry for the same — to confirm their last locations.

“If the person was in any part of the Kedar valley between Gaurikund and Kedarnath temple on the evening of June 16,there is no chance of him being alive. If a person’s location is found anywhere near Guptakashi or Soneprayag,there is a possibility of his survival,” a source in the police said. The government has requested all states for details of their missing persons who were present in the valley when the floods and landslides struck.

“We have a list of about 3,000 persons. Several states have sent their representatives to coordinate with use in the preparation of the missing persons’ list,” Ajay Pradyot,a senior official involved in preparing the list,told The Indian Express.

The plan may yet be a non-starter if families of the missing persons refuse permission. “How can you declare a person dead without the consent of his family?,” the source explained. And it wouldn’t be easy,the source said,to persuade such families. Indeed,several families are camping in Dehradun and planning to go to the Kedar valley to search for their missing relatives.

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Sources,meanwhile,also said that guidelines to distribute relief to families of missing persons who are declared dead are on the anvil.