Toll mounts to 43 in Uttarakhand cloudburst

Report
from Times of India
Published on 18 Sep 2012 View Original

D S Kunwar, TNN | Sep 18, 2012, 03.11AM IST

DEHRADUN: Rescue workers on Monday found four more bodies pushing the toll after Friday's cloudburst to 43 in Uttarakhand's Rudraprayag district. The toll in two cloudbursts on Saturday rose to 12 after five more bodies were found in Kiranmalla, Timli Badma, Doongershemla and Simbhal villages.

Joint teams of army jawans and local administration found the bodies from debris of flattened homes in Kimore, Girija and Manglore villages under the district's Ukhimath tehsil. Seventeen people are still feared trapped in the debris.

Brahm Kohli and Prem Nagar in Ukhimath area, too, were partially destroyed as flash flood and landslides after the cloudburst washed away acres of farmland and cattle.

Chief Secretary Alok Kumar Jain said nearly 450 residents were homeless after the calamity. They were paid an interim compensation of about Rs 5,040. They are currently living in a relief camp in Ukhimath intermediate college. "The relief money was distributed to affected families from the Rs 10 crore allocated by the Centre," said Jain.

A senior IAS officer in Rudraprayag said the government is yet to distribute ex-gratia payment to relatives of the dead. The government announced Rs 3 lakh compensation for relatives of those killed and Rs 1.5 lakh to those critically injured.

"We are yet to identify genuine claimants of the compensation and hope the confusion is resolved in a day or two," said Rudraprayag DM Neeraj Kherwal.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is likely to conduct an aerial survey of ravaged villages to assess the extent of damage in Rudraprayag. She will also fly over Sangam Chatti, Bhatwari and neighbouring areas in Uttarkashi ravaged by flash floods and landslides after an earlier cloudburst on August 4.

A senior administrative officer in Dehradun said Sonia will interact with families of those displaced by the calamity in Ukhimath area. "She will also interact with affected families in Uttarkashi district," said the official.