Uttarakhand is in a hurry to bury its dead
Dehradun: The 17-kilometre-long stretch between Guarikund and Kedarnath, where flash floods occurred with maximum ferocity, still remains strewn with decomposing bodies and is posing a serious health hazard, according to reports coming from the ground.
Facing ire of local people and environmentalists and fearing blame game, the Uttarakhand government on Friday sent a special team of officials to Kedarnath axis to oversee the cremation of remaining bodies.
The matter came up before the Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna on Thursday who called up NDMA member VK Duggal and decided to cremate the bodies at the first instance.
Officials said a group of 75 workers has been sent on foot to Guptkashi to Kedarnath area to cremate bodies.
Of the 580 declared dead, the state government has cremated 177 of which 84 were immersed to ashes in Kedarnath.
A team of 200 workers earlier had failed to cremate all the bodies because of incessant rains. In fact, many of them had to be rescued because of bad weather.
Meanwhile, The Supreme Court on Friday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to apprise it within two weeks about the status of rescue operations in Uttarakhand. A bench headed by justice AK Patnaik directed NDMA to file an affidavit on the status of rescue operations within two weeks.
The Uttarakhand government informed the court that pilgrims who were stranded in the various affected areas of the state have been evacuated. It said that only natives, who didn’t want to move out, were there. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 26.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Ajay Bansal, who has sought the court’s directions to the Centre and the state government to rescue people stranded in the flood- hit areas in Uttarakhand.
Earlier, the court had directed the Centre and the state to make all-out efforts to rescue the stranded people and to provide them with food and drinking water.
It had also asked the authorities to deploy sufficient number of helicopters for rescue operations.
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