Dehradun: Mass cremation of bodies in Kedarghati held up for the past few days on Thursday started with 23 more consigned to flames, taking the number of bodies disposed of so far to 59 even as a team of experts worked on removal of debris and extricating bodies from under them at the Himalayan shrine.
As many as 23 more bodies were cremated at Gaurikund and Junglechatti on Wednesday night, said DIG Amit Sinha under whose supervision the exercise is being undertaken.
This takes the total number of bodies disposed of in Kedarghati to 59, he said.
Earlier, 36 bodies had been cremated, the DIG said, adding the process is slow due to bad weather and the precautions being taken not to risk the lives of personnel engaged in the exercise.
It is still raining intermittently in the area, he said.
A team of seven mountaineers is engaged in a combing operation in areas adjoining the shrine in search of bodies while over 50 members of a team of experts and volunteers is stationed in Kedarnath to clean the temple premises of tonnes of debris under which more bodies may be lying, the official said.
Around 50 other members of the team are searching for bodies in Gaurikund and Rambara areas.
Despite continuing bad weather in affected areas amid a MeT department prediction of heavy rains in the next 48 hours at places, efforts were on to airdrop relief material in affected villages totally cut off after the calamity in the worst-hit Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has alerted the District Magistrates in Kumaon and Garhwal regions to be prepared to deal with any emergency in case of heavy rains and suspend all pilgrimage.