Army steps up ops in Uttarakhand as time runs out
Hyderabad: Amid reports of deteriorating weather in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, Army Chief General Bikram Singh on Saturday said efforts have been stepped up to evacuate people stranded in the hilly terrain as "time is limited".
Army has also increased its footprint to over 6,000 personnel from 500 for the operation.
"...Time is limited. We have window till tomorrow because I have been told that weather might turn bad again but we are rushing our people there.”
"Yesterday we landed our paratroopers...We are trying to reach even those areas where there is nobody at the moment just to ensure that in case if anybody is stuck over there, we will be able to get them out from there," Singh said.
He was addressing reporters after reviewing the Combined Graduation Parade at the Air Force Academy at Dundigal on the city outskirts.
Describing the flash floods and cloudbursts in Uttarakhand, wherein a large number of people have died and thousands still feared missing as "very sad and a big tragedy", the Army Chief said, "We have increased the Army`s footprint from 500 to over 6,000 at the moment".
"It`s a time consuming effort...Because of rains, the roads are washed away. The accessibility is restricted but that not withstanding, we are doing our best because it is very important to save precious lives and important to ensure that we address aspirations of our countrymen who are there," he said.
Singh said that efforts are underway to ensure that Army personnel move forward to the difficult terrain with necessary logistics like medicines, rations etc. To extricate those who are marooned due to the unprecedented calamity. "We are trying to assuage their sufferings and give them basic necessities," he added.
The army chief also pointed out that a comprehensive plan involving various agencies like the Air Force, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Uttarakhand government is put in place to expedite the rescue operations.