Uttarakhand cloudburst: Most roads cleared, situation under control, says Harish Rawat

Rescue operations in Bastadi village of Pithoragarh which was hit by landslides and cloudburst are in full swing. The Indian Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) has reportedly given food to 100 locals. Most roads which got blocked because of the heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand have been cleared out and opened. The remaining ones will be operational soon as well, said Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

Heavy rainfall and landslides had blocked the Gangotri highway and the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway 58. The water level of most rivers in Uttarakhand has also increased, according to recent reports. The cloudburst and landslide in the Pithoragarh and Chamoli districts of Uttarakhand has claimed about 30 lives so far.

The Gangotri highway road got blocked because of the landslide and border road organisations are trying to clear the road. On Saturday, 50 metres of the highway was washed away shutting down the Lata area.

The Gangotri Dham pilgrimage which was temporarily halted on Saturday has resumed. People who are coming from Char Dham should not worry, Rawat said.

The continuous rainfall has also increased the water level of all major rivers of Uttarakhand. The rivers in the hilly tracts were in spate and the water level has risen well above the danger mark.

The Rishikesh-Badrinath NH-58 which was blocked because of the landslide is also being cleared in Joshimath. Rawat claimed that clearing work is underway for the blocked roads. He has also ensured that the situation is under control and he is personally monitoring the rescue operations from the rescue control room.

Rawat chaired a meeting in Dehradun on Sunday to review the ongoing relief and rescue operations.

In view of the situation, the leaves of all government officers and employees has been cancelled, said state Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh.

At least 30 people are feared dead and the toll is expected to rise as several people are still trapped under the debris of broken houses. Reports suggest that around 60 houses were flattened and villagers have lost over 200 cattle in the resulting floods.

Eight bodies have been recovered so far from the debris in the village of Pithoragarh.

Alert was issued on Saturday after the water level increased considerably in the Koshi river. The Alaknanda river too rose above the danger level mark after rainfall of over 100 mm within a few hours, leading to floods in most villages of Uttarakhand.

A senior disaster management official said that the weather conditions were impeding the rescue operations. The NDRF teams were rushed to the affected areas and additional teams are kept on alert.

However, there is no respite from the inclement weather as IMD issued fresh warnings of heavy to very heavy rainfall in eight districts for the next 24 hours at least.

All means of communication had also collapsed because of the rain. However, Rawat has written to the Home Ministry, the telecom Ministry and spoken to BSNL in this regard. He has also asked officials to camp in the affected areas and ensure that there is no dearth of ration. He has also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh too ensures all possible support from the centre. Rescue operations are on in all the affected districts of Uttarakhand.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jul 03, 2016 15:58:42 IST

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