( A delegation from Uttarakhand met PM Narendra Modi on Feb, 8, 2021)

Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in a statement in Parliament on February 9, 2021, said that as per information received from Government of Uttarakhand, 20 persons have died and 6 persons were injured due to avalanche in the upper catchment of Rishiganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.

As per information on February 8, 2021,  a total of 197 persons are reported missing which includes 139 persons of under construction project of NTPC, 46 persons of the functional Rishi Ganga Project, and 12 villagers. The State Government has gathered this information from different sources and this may change.

Twelve persons from NTPC project, who were trapped in a tunnel, have been rescued, Shah said. Fifteen persons from Rishiganga project have also been rescued. In another tunnel of NTPC project, approximately 25–35 persons are suspected to have been trapped. Rescue operation to evacuate them is going on war footing and all out efforts are simultaneously being made for searching missing persons, he said, according to a PIB release.

The State Government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the incident, ghe Union Home Minister said.

Due to washing away of one bridge, 13 villages around it have been cut off. In these villages necessary supplies and medical assistance is being provided through helicopters, Shah added.

Shah said that on February 7, 2021, around 10 am an avalanche occurred in the upper catchment of Rishiganga River, a tributary of Alaknanda River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, which led to sudden rise in the water level of Rishiganga River. Due to flash flood on account of rising of water levels in river Rishiganga, a functional Rishiganga small hydro project of 13.2 MW was washed away. The flash flood also affected the under construction 520 MW NTPC Hydro Power Project downstream at Tapovan on the river Dhauli Ganga.

State Government of Uttrakhand has reported that there is no danger of downstream flooding and the rise in water level has been contained. Centre and the State Government have been keeping a strict vigil on the situation, Shah said.

It is observed from the satellite data (Planet Lab) of February 7, 2021, in catchment of Rishi Ganga river at the terminus of the glacier at an altitude of 5,600 m a landslide triggered a snow avalanche covering approximately 14 sq.km area causing a flash flood in the downstream of Rishi Ganga River.

Steps taken by Central Government:

  1. Situation is being monitored 24×7 by Central Government at the highest level. The Prime Minister himself is monitoring the situation closely.
  2. Both Control Rooms of Ministry of Home Affairs are monitoring the situation 24X7 and all possible help is being provided to the State.
  3.  Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Power has visited the incident site and supervised the rescue and relief work.
  4. ITBP has set up their Control Room and 450 personnel of ITBP with all necessary equipment are engaged in rescue and relief operation.
  5. Five NDRF teams have reached  the place of incident and are engaged in rescue and relief operation.
  6. 8 teams of Indian Army, including one Engineer Task Force (ETF), are carrying rescue operation at incident site. One Medical column with two ambulances are also deployed. One diving team of Indian Navy has also reached at incident site for rescue operation. Five helicopters of Indian Air Force have also been engaged in rescue operation. A Control Room has been established at Joshimath.
  7. In spite of adverse conditions at incident site, search and rescue operation is continuously being carried out. After continuous and tireless efforts since night, Army has cleared debris at opening of the tunnel to rescue the persons trapped in it.
  8. All the staff of the Central Water Commission deployed in Alaknanda and Ganga Basin up to Haridwar are on alert.
  9. One team of Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB) is also deployed at incident site.
  10. Team of Snow & Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) /DRDO has also reached at the site for surveillance and reconnaissance.
  11. CMD, NTPC has reached at the place of incident.