Dehradun: Former Uttarakhand CM Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank on Tuesday said hundreds of lives could have been saved if the rescue operation by the Army in disaster-hit areas of the state had been allowed to continue for longer.
"There was no need to wind up the army`s rescue operations in Kedarnath so soon when there was still the possibility of people being trapped in the upper ridges of the valley," Nishank said in a statement here.
When the Army operations came to a close in Kedarnath, it was claimed that there was no one left stranded in the valley but then how hundreds of bodies were recovered from the upper ridges of the ghati just a few days before resumption of prayers at the shrine, Nishank said.
Just to give a false impression that things have returned to normal in Uttarakhand, the state government was in a hurry to restart prayers and yatra to the shrine but the fact is bodies are still being found in the valley, he alleged.
"Who is responsible for playing with the lives of hundreds of people in Kedar ghati? The Home Minister should answer," he said.
He also asked the Home Minister whether central officials posted on deputation for rescue operations in Uttarakhand submit a report on the calamity to him and if they did, did the ministry take cognisance of the points raised by them.
Nishank said though Narendra Modi was not allowed to visit the affected areas, entire government machinery was at the beck and call of Rahul Gandhi when he paid a visit to Gauchar during the crisis, so much so that officials stopped caring about the people who were dying for want of help.