Ganga’s Fury: The Uttarakhand Floods | Tehelka - Investigations, Latest News, Politics, Analysis, Blogs, Culture, Photos, Videos, Podcasts
September 23, 2013

‘The Govt Doesn’t Care For The Issue Prof GD Agrawal Is Fasting For’

Swami Gyan Swroop Sanand. Photo: Vinod Rawat

Swami Gyan Swroop Sanand. Photo: Vinod Rawat

Swami Gyan Swaroop Sanand(GD Agrawal), environmental engineer, former IIT Kanpur professor and former secretary, Central Pollution Control Board, has been on a 103-day fast at the 500-strong Matri Sadan Ashram. His mission is to save the from pollution and the destruction caused by hydel power and other projects on the river. On 21 September 2013, Professor Agrawal stopped drinking water and now, his condition is critical. Though the administration is planning to stop the fast, they are yet to address the issues he is fasting for. Weakened by the fast, Agrawal was unable to talk, but, Swami Shivanand and Hemant Dhyani of the Ahwan movement spoke to TEHELKA about his sacrifice to save the river…

 
September 5, 2013

Uttarakhand tragedy: 64 bodies found in Kedar valley

Photo PTI

Photo PTI

Dehradun, Sept 5 (PTI): With the weather clear at most places across Uttarakhand over the past few days, 64 more bodies were found lying over the ridges in Kedar valley and cremated with necessary rituals, a senior police officer said today.

“These bodies seem to be of devotees who climbed up the ridges out of fear after the mid June calamity to save themselves and perished due to extreme cold conditions there,” IG R S Meena told PTI.

A total of 64 bodies have been consigned to flames over the past two days between Rambada and Kedarnath shrine, he said.

“We have resumed our search for bodies trapped in the higher reaches and ridges of the valley which we could not access earlier due to bad weather.If the weather permits, the process will go on for the next…

 
August 6, 2013

Over 6,000 feared killed in Uttarakhand floods: Antony

Photo - PTI

Photo – PTI

New Delhi, 6 Aug (PTI): Over 6,000 people are feared to have been killed in the devastating floods, cloudbursts and landslides in Uttarakhand in June, government said today.

“The scale and magnitude of the extreme event was such that more than 580 persons are confirmed to have lost their lives. Besides, another 5,474 persons who are still missing and feared to be no more,” Defence Minister A K Antony said in a statement in Lok Sabha.

Maintaining that the disaster was of “unprecedented magnitude”, he said 1.1 lakh people were evacuated to safe places in the “shortest possible time, notwithstanding widespread destruction of roads, difficult terrain and extremely hostile weather.”

This is the first time that the Centre has come out with the toll in the large-scale devastation.

Detailing the response measures taken by the state government,…

 
August 2, 2013

Famous Uttarkashi temple swept away by raging river

kedarnath1aDehradun, 2 Aug (PTI): The famous Manikarnika Temple on the banks of Bhagirathi was swept away by the swirling waters of the river in the wee hours on Friday even as fresh attempts were launched to trace Almora SDM Ajay Arora, who slipped off a makeshift bridge and fell into the Mandakini river.

Manikarnika Temple, a favourite destination for devotees during the month of ‘Shravan’ was swept away by the waters of Bhagirathi as incessant rains lashed Uttarkashi on Thursday night, officials said.

However, no one was hurt as the temple was empty at the time of the incident, its priest Suresh Shastri said.

The temple was built after the 1991 earthquake in Uttarkashi which had killed a large number of people.

As the weather slightly improved in Rudraprayag district, fresh attempts were launched to search for Mr Arora with a 14-member team of…

 
July 31, 2013

Uttarakhand seeks Rs 13,800 cr for reconstruction, relief work

New Delhi, 31 Jul (PTI): Uttarakhand today sought Rs 13,800 crore from the Centre for reconstruction and relief work in the flood-ravaged state at the first meeting of the Cabinet Committee on the issue and claimed to have got an assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.

The Cabinet Committee discussed the issue of compensation and rehabilitation in the state with Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna saying that his government has decided to declare the 5400 people, who are still missing after the flash flood tragedy, as “presumed dead” and give them compensation.

The missing people will, however, not been given death certificates.

“5400 people are still missing. Out of these 924 are from the state. These are presumed to be dead and Rs 5 lakh cheque each will be given to their family members. The Finance Minister said that the LIC…

 
July 21, 2013

Roadmap prepared for clearing of debris in Kedarnath

Destruction at Uttarakhand File Photo

Destruction at Uttarakhand
File Photo

Dehradun, 21 July (PTI): Over a month after calamity hit Uttarakhand, the state government has finally prepared a roadmap for clearing tonnes of debris left over by the destruction at Kedarnath and extricating bodies still trapped underneath at the Himalayan shrine and adjoining areas.

The roadmap was worked out at a meeting of GSI experts, Engineering Projects (India) Limited (EPIL) top brass and IAF officials with Chief Secretary Subhash Kumar and DGP Satyavrat Bansal here yesterday.

It was decided that the services of EPIL will be taken to carry out the massive exercise hampered so far by bad weather and lack of heavy equipment, official sources said today.

EPIL, which is said to have expertise in the field, will depute a dedicated workforce of 500 trained personnel for the exercise in which…

 
July 16, 2013

Reporter’s Diaries: The catastrophe that hit Uttarakhand

 
July 15, 2013

A month after Uttarakhand Disaster, 5748 still missing

Dehradun, 15 July (PTI): The deadline for locating 5,748 people still missing in the Uttarakhand disaster ended today, exactly a month after the catastrophe, but Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said they will not be declared dead yet.

Bahuguna, however, said the process of paying monetary relief of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of those dead and missing in the flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains that struck the hill state on June 15 will commence from tomorrow. He also said the mission to trace the missing will continue.

But if the missing persons are found, the family will have to return the relief money, he said at a joint news conference with Union Minister of State for Planning and Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla.

When asked whether the missing are being presumed dead, Bahuguna said, “This is hoping against hope…

 
July 11, 2013

Failing the disaster test

Left in the lurch Unattended relief materials lying at Govind Ghat

Left in the lurch: Unattended relief materials lying at Govind Ghat. Photo: Getty Images

The true test of any leadership is when a crisis strikes. In this context, the recent disaster in Uttarakhand has revealed the true nature of the state government led by Vijay Bahuguna. While the government says it has no experience in dealing with such calamities, the truth is that its response lacked adequate seriousness and will power. The political and administrative leadership of the state had no idea about the resources available with them and how to use them properly during a crisis.

The government may argue that it was an unexpected disaster, but neither was this calamity unexpected nor was it the first time that the state has dealt with such a crisis. There…

 
July 11, 2013

Army begins work on new land route to Kedarnath

File Photo

Lucknow, 11 July (PTI): Army’s Central Command based here has started work to open a new 20-km route to Kedarnath Valley, the worst-hit in the Uttarakhand flash floods, as bad weather has been severely affecting relief operations by air.

With MET department forecasting more rains, opening a new land route was the only solution to gain continued access to the 8th-century shrine, an Army release said here today.

On request from the civil administration and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), teams of the Army’s Surya Command here have conducted a reconnaissance of the area and commenced work to open a land route along a fresh alignment, it said.

After much difficulty, the teams successfully established a crossing over the Vasuki at Sonprayag yesterday.

The leading team comprising 21 persons, including four officers, crossed the river and reached…

 
July 11, 2013

Uttarakhand disaster due to unplanned development: Patkar

File Photo

File Photo

Dehradun, 11 Jul (PTI): Terming the recent calamity in Uttarakhand as a man-made disaster, activist Medha Patkar has said it is time to rethink the concept of development.

“This disaster has been caused by unplanned development. It is the result of mindless misuse of the state’s natural resources.The dams, barrages and tunnels built in the name of hydel projects have impacted the course of the rivers which led to the tragedy,” Patkar told reporters here yesterday on her return from flood-hit areas of Kedarghati.

She said the authorities need to learn lessons from this colossal calamity and revise their concept of development in the hills.

She also demanded that the valley where the , Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers flow should be declared an eco-sensitive zone.

Patkar also asked the Centre to prepare a policy to give economic security to people…

 
July 10, 2013

Heavy rains claim seven lives in Chamoli

Photo - PTI

Photo – PTI

Dehradun, 10 July (PTI): Heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in Uttarakhand where seven persons of a family were killed when the ceiling of their house collapsed in Chamoli district today, while four persons were killed when a machine engaged in repairing a road fell into a ditch in Garhwal.

The house collapse incident occurred at about 3.30 AM in Dhikauna village when debris from the hillside including rocks and boulders where the house was located hit it under the impact of heavy overnight rains, Chamoli ADM Sanjay Kumar told PTI over phone.

The dead included two women and three children.

Five bodies have been recovered and efforts are on to extricate the remaining two which are still trapped in the debris, he said.

Senior officials including Chamoli District Magistrate S A Murugesan have reached the spot…

 
July 10, 2013

Kedarnath connectivity to be restored by September

File Photo

File Photo

New Delhi, 10 Jul (PTI): Nearly a month after floods ravaged several parts of Uttarakhand, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is working towards re-linking the state with the rest of the country and is hopeful of providing full connectivity to the Kedarnath shrine by September.

“The restoration work has started but there are stretches where the entire road has been washed out, where we have to build new roads. This may go beyond one or two months,” Road Minister Oscar Fernandes told PTI here.

Exuding confidence Fernandes said “by September, we will be able to restore connectivity to the (Kedarnath) shrine”.

Heavy monsoon rains wreaked havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand on June 16 and 17, with thousands of people affected and several hundreds dead. Himachal Pradesh was also hit by floods due to rains.

Broken…

 
July 8, 2013

Rains mar relief operations in Uttarakhand

Volunteers of an NGO arrange relief material to be send by train for Uttarakhand disaster victims, at Ahmedabad on Saturday

Volunteers of an NGO arrange relief material to be send by train for Uttarakhand disaster victims, at Ahmedabad on Saturday. Photo PTI

Dehradun, Jul 8 (PTI): Incessant rains in parts of Uttarakhand continued to hamper relief efforts today prompting authorities to commission the IAF’s C-130 Hercules aircraft to drop relief material to Kedarnath and other affected places.

The process of cremating bodies at the shrine town is already being carried out amid bad weather by a team of over 70 experts and trained personnel.

However, the special all-weather aircraft returned to Dehradun after making a sortie over the affected areas in Pithoragarh district without being able to airdrop relief material due to low visibility conditions, NDMA member in charge of relief…

 
July 5, 2013

Making of the Tehri myth

Photo: Trilochan S Kalra

Photo: Trilochan S Kalra

Following the calamitous deluge in Uttarakhand, as criticism mounted that too many hydel projects were destabilising the hills, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna claimed that but for the Tehri dam, Rishikesh and Haridwar would have been washed away. Over the past fortnight, it has become a popular justification for multi-purpose dams.

We know the Tehri dam sits on an active faultline and the shifting load of reservoir water affects local seismicity. It has made the site landslide prone right from the days of its construction when 28 workers were buried alive. The reservoir is filling up rapidly with silt and debris and the productivity and longevity of the power plant itself is in question. But did the dam really save millions?

The Bhagirathi, on which the dam is built, and the Alaknanda come together at…

 
July 4, 2013

After the Deluge

Highway to hell Members of the National Disaster Response Force walk past the body of a pilgrim en route to Kedarnath

Highway to hell Members of the National Disaster Response Force walk past the body of a pilgrim en route to Kedarnath. Photo: AP

On 23 June, the last day of search and rescue for survivors by the army in Kedarnath, Dhirendra Kumar collapsed after a strenuous climb to the temporary helipad in Gaurikund. He panted and cried at the same time. His mother and grandmother had come to the holy town to fulfill their wishes. Kumar, a bus conductor from Kekri in Rajasthan, had saved up for several years so that the two women could go on the pilgrimage.

“I sent them here. I must find them,” he tried to convince the army personnel, who told him that only…

 
July 4, 2013

Uttarakhand: Bahuguna says Missing to be presumed dead by 15 July

Uttarakhand police and NDRF personnel perform mass cremation of the pilgrims bodies. Photo PTI

Uttarakhand police and NDRF personnel perform mass cremation of the pilgrims bodies. Photo PTI

Dehradun, July 4 (PTI): Pegging the number of pilgrims missing after the recent natural calamity in Uttarakhand at more than 3000, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said if they don’t surface till July 15 they will be presumed dead.

“Considering the magnitude of the crisis, the state cabinet has decided that if the missing persons are not found by July 15, we will presume that they are dead and the process of paying compensation to their next of kin will begin”, he said.

The exact number of persons missing after the tragedy is 3,064 and the deadline for finding them is July 15, he said.

He said the process of payment of compensation to the…

 
July 4, 2013

Flood-hit people in Chamoli not getting compensation: Khanduri

Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri
Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Dehradun, Jul 4 (PTI): Alleging that flood-hit people of Pindar area from Nalgaon-Narayan Bagad to Tharali in Chamoli district were not getting compensation from authorities, BJP leader Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri today demanded there should be no discrimination against people in Uttarakhand.

Many villages is this area are suffering from foodgrain shortage, Khanduri said in a statement here.

The state government must show sensitivity towards people who have lost everything in the tragedy and ask authorities to evenly distribute relief in affected villages, he said.

Taking exception to alleged distribution of stale food in villages under Agastya Muni block, the former chief minister urged the state government to supply adequate food items to villages entirely cut off due to damaged roads and expedite distribution of compensation among affected people.

Khanduri, who has toured…

 
July 1, 2013

350 evacuated from Badrinath, UN says over 11000 missing

Photo - PTI

Photo – PTI

New Delhi, 1 Jul (PTI): A total of 1,350 people have been evacuated from Badrinath while over 3,500 remain untraced in flood-hit Uttarakhand even as a UN agency estimated that the number of missing could be over 11,000.

“According to data available till yesterday, 1,350 have been evacuated from Badrinath- 800 by air and 550 by road. But there are some locals too like shopkeepers and ashram dwellers who also are being evacuated,” NDMA Vice Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy told reporters here today.

The number of dead stands at 580 while the NDRF has rescued 8,634 people from Kedarnath taking the overall evacuation to 1,08,253 people, he said.

“According to the quantum of FIRs filed, the number of missing stands at 3,500-3,700 but a report prepared by a UN agency along with some NGO pegs…

 
July 1, 2013

Govt to seek aid from World Bank, ADB to rebuild Uttarakhand

Photo: PTI

Photo: PTI

New Delhi, Jul 1 (PTI): Government will seek financial aid from multilateral bodies like World Bank and Asian Development Bank for reconstruction and rehabilitation in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said today.

He said funds will not be a constraint for rebuilding the mountainous state which had witnessed the worst ever floods last month that killed several hundreds and destroyed properties worth crores.

“We are trying to develop a (financial) package for rehabilitation and reconstruction for which we will go to multilateral bodies, like we did in Tsunami case,” Chidambaram told PTI.

“Prime Minister has already announced Rs 1,000 crore.

Different ministries are using their own funds. Tourism has announced Rs 100 crore. Funds will not be a constraint. I have said it on the first day,” the minister said

Besides seeking aid from these multilateral agencies, the…

 
July 1, 2013

Efforts on to evacuate 900 people in U’khand, extricate bodies

 An ITBP jawan rescuing flood-victims near Badrinath in Utrakhand. PTI Photo

An ITBP jawan rescuing flood-victims near Badrinath in Utrakhand. PTI Photo

Dehradun, July 1 (PTI): Last ditch efforts were today on to evacuate about 900 people from Badrinath amid overcast conditions at some places in Uttarakhand where authorities were grappling with the task of extricating bodies from under tonnes of debris lying in Kedarghati and their cremation.

Despite bad weather at places including Dehradun, chopper operations began this morning in Chamoli district to evacuate about 300 pilgrims and 600 locals from Badrinath shrine to Joshimath from where they will be brought further down by road.

According to latest official figures, approximately 3000 persons have been reported missing after the tragedy.

The Chief Secretaries of the states concerned have been asked to verify the list and if the lost people are not…

 
June 29, 2013

U’khand speaker pegs death toll at 10,000; Shinde says 900

People looking at portraits of missing pilgrims pasted on a gate of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, Uttarakhand on Friday. PTI Photo

People looking at portraits of missing pilgrims pasted on a gate of the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, Uttarakhand on Friday. PTI Photo

Almora/Dehradun, Jun 29 (PTI): Two weeks after flashfloods and landslides devastated Uttarakhand, there was no clarity on the death toll with state Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal claiming today that it may cross 10,000 while Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde pegged it at 900.

Kunjwal claimed in Almora that the death toll can cross 10,000. “Earlier when I returned from a tour of Garhwal region I believed the casualty figure could be 4,000 to 5,000. But now as per my information and bodies being seen by the people, I can say the figure can…

 
June 28, 2013

20 bravehearts honoured, focus shifts on tracing those missing

General Officer Commanding in Chief of Central Command, Lt. Gen. Anil Chait accompanies stranded pilgrims on foot from Badrinath to Joshimath during rescue operations. PTI Photo

General Officer Commanding in Chief of Central Command, Lt. Gen. Anil Chait accompanies stranded pilgrims on foot from Badrinath to Joshimath during rescue operations. PTI Photo

Dehradun/Gauchar, June 28 (PTI): Twenty bravehearts killed in Tuesday’s helicopter crash in Uttarakhand were today given a guard of honour, even as operations commenced to clear the layers of debris under which many bodies were feared buried, amid reports of 3,000 people missing.

The 20 men — five from IAF, nine from NDRF and six from ITBP — were accorded the honour in presence of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh at a ceremony in Dehradun.

“The guard of honour…

 
June 28, 2013

We will stay till last person is evacuated: Army Chief

File Photo

File Photo

Gauchar, June 28 (PTI): Sending a word of assurance, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today said the armed forces will continue their operations till all the people are rescued from various locations in flood-hit Uttarakhand.

Gen Singh, who is on a day-long visit to affected areas, said he had asked his commanders to launch relief operations in “very, very difficult conditions” in a proactive manner, without waiting for any requisition from authorities.

“We are getting information that there may still be some survivors in certain areas. Like I am told, yesterday we had an input that in north of Badrinath there were some people, 40 of them. We had launched sorties yesterday but couldn’t detect them.

“We will be doing it again, if the weather permits. But endeavour is to locate all our citizens, wherever they are, and get…

 
June 27, 2013

Heroism & Treachery In the Devbhoomi

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At your service A policeman carries an old woman during rescue operations in Govindghat, Photo: Reuters
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Washed away Locals sit next to rubble on a damaged road near Devprayag, Photo: AFP
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The first wave on 16 June sent priests, pilgrims and local vendors scurrying for cover inside the Kedarnath temple, while others ran for the hills to gain higher ground. At 6 am on 17 June, the second wave deposited large boulders at the back of the temple and the water got bifurcated into two streams around it. Soon, the water gushed in, trapping those inside. Four jawans posted near the shrine helped some people climb into the higher recesses of the temple but they were not able to save each and everyone.

The reason for the second flood is attributed to a massive landslide triggered by a melting glacier, which cracked open mountain lakes along the way. The water tumbled over Gaurikund and took with it parts of the town while it flowed into the Mandakini a few hundred feet below, clearing the banks of illegal construction that were…

 
June 27, 2013

How Uttarakhand dug its grave

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On the afternoon of 16 June, local resident Manav Bisht watched dozens of constables leaving the paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Academy, which stood between his house in Shakti Vihar, a locality in Uttarakhand’s Srinagar town, and the Alaknanda river that had started swelling from 10 am. The waters threatened to enter the academy building after 5 pm and more jawans were shifted to Pauri, the district headquarters.

SSB IG S Bandhopadhyay was aware of the torrential rainfall up in the hills. There was also the flood warning issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). As night fell, the Alaknanda breached the meagre embankment and ravaged the academy building. Sometime after midnight, after drowning the 500-metre stretch of the SSB campus, the torrent rose above the 10-feet-high boundary wall on the other side and entered Shakti Vihar.

Bandhopadhyay’s timely action saved many lives. But busy evacuating his men, he did…

 
June 27, 2013

Uttarakhand: A model of disaster

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Photo: Raghubeer Bisth
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New lease of life: Survivors take cover as a chopper lands at Gaurikund, Photo: Vijay Pandey
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Filled to the brim: A godown in Srinagar packed with sand after the flood, Photo: Vijay Pandey
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Remains of the day: The damaged paramilitary academy in Srinagar, Photo: Vijay Pandey
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A bridge too far: Soldiers try to repair a temporary footbridge over the Alaknanda river, Photo: Reuters
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On the afternoon of 16 June, local resident Manav Bisht watched dozens of constables leaving the paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) Academy, which stood between his house in Shakti Vihar, a locality in Uttarakhand’s Srinagar town, and the Alaknanda river that had started swelling from 10 am. The waters threatened to enter the academy building after 5 pm and more jawans were shifted to Pauri, the district headquarters.

SSB IG S Bandhopadhyay was aware of the torrential rainfall up in the hills. There was also the flood warning issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). As night fell, the Alaknanda breached the meagre embankment and ravaged the academy building. Sometime after midnight, after drowning the 500-metre stretch of the SSB campus, the torrent rose above the 10-feet-high boundary wall on the other side and entered Shakti Vihar.

Bandhopadhyay’s timely action saved many lives. But busy evacuating his men, he did…

 
June 27, 2013

U’khand floods: 10 bodies recovered from rivers in UP

Army personnel constructing an iron foot bridge to rescue pilgrims at Lambagar in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Army personnel constructing an iron foot bridge to rescue pilgrims at Lambagar in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Lucknow, Jun 27 (PTI) Ten bodies swept away in the Uttarakhand flash floods were recovered from different rivers in Uttar Pradesh.

Six bodies were recovered from river in Allahabad, two bodies each were recovered from rivers in Muzaffarnagar and Hapur in past 24 hours, home department here said.

The total of 26 bodies have so far been recovered from various rivers in Uttar Pradesh.

There are 762 persons missing from the state as per the information received in the control room set up by Relief Commissioner Office.

 

 
June 27, 2013

Mass cremation on, rescue from Badrinath halted

Army personnel distrubute foods among rescued pilgrims in flood-hit Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Army personnel distrubute foods among rescued pilgrims in flood-hit Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Guptkashi, June 27 (PTI): Amid fears of epidemic outbreak, the mass cremation process in Kedarnath, worst-hit in the Uttarakhand flash floods, was expedited, even as air operations to evacuate stranded people from Badrinath was today halted with the weather packing up.

“A total of 18 bodies have been cremated so far in Kedarnath. The next round of cremation will start only after formalities like identification, DNA sample preservation, post mortem of the bodies are completed,” DIG Sanjay Gunjyal, under whose supervision the exercise is taking place, told PTI.

A second team of doctors, forensic experts and police personnel has left for Kedarnath to complete the formalities, he said.

The rescue operations and the mass cremation process have been affected…

 
June 27, 2013

Uttarakhand: Bad weather halts rescue ops from Badrinath

Sadhu waits to board an IAF helicopter near Kedarnath Temple. PTI Photo

Sadhu waits to board an IAF helicopter near Kedarnath Temple. PTI Photo

Guptkashi, June 27 (PTI): Air rescue operations resumed today to pull out stranded people but they had to be halted for Badrinath as the weather turned bad, even as decaying bodies were being cremated swiftly in worst-hit Kedarnath Valley amid fears of an epidemic outbreak.

Priests carried out the last rites of the victims, which had resumed yesterday after they were suspended because of inclement weather.

The Health Department has warned people in adjoining areas not to consume river water as it may be highly polluted. With the air thick with foul smell of decaying bodies in the area adjoining the Kedarnath shrine, the department has expressed apprehensions about spread of various infectious diseases.

“We are now quickly cremating…

 
June 26, 2013

Mass Cremation of bodies begin in Uttarakhand, 3,500 yet to be evacuated

A paramilitary soldier looks at the gate of an airport, covered with special announcements and pictures of missing people in flood affected regions, in Dehradun on Wednesday. PTI Photo

A paramilitary soldier looks at the gate of an airport, covered with special announcements and pictures of missing people in flood affected regions, in Dehradun on Wednesday. PTI Photo

Gauchar/Guptkashi, June 26 (PTI): With the weather clearing a bit and a threat of epidemic looming large, mass cremation of bodies of people killed in the rain fury in Uttarakhand finally began in Kedarnath today, even as 3,500 people waited to be rescued 11 days after the disaster.

As 1,000 more stranded people were evacuated from Badrinath and Harshil sectors by air and road routes in rain and fog, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne on a morale boosting…

 
June 26, 2013

PM Visits Army Base Hospital in Srinagar

 
June 26, 2013

U’khand: Air rescue ops despite overcast sky, low visibility

Stranded pilgrims get off a helicopter after being evacuated by the army soldiers near Hemkund Saheb. PTI Photo

Stranded pilgrims get off a helicopter after being evacuated by the army soldiers near Hemkund Saheb. PTI Photo

Dehradun, Jun 26 (PTI): An overcast sky and low visibility at places today did not come in the way of air rescue operations in rain-hit Uttarakhand, even though a thin veil of early morning fog briefly delayed flight of choppers from Sahasradhara helipad and Jollygrant airport.

A Pawan Hans pilot engaged in relief and rescue operations in Gauchar said the weather is okay in Uttarkashi with no major hindrance to air rescue operations.

As cremation of decaying bodies recovered from Kedarnath could not be done yesterday due to bad weather, police tried to ensure that the process began today in view of threat of outbreak of…

 
June 26, 2013

Uttarakhand Chopper crash: No survivors among the 20 people on board, says Air Force chief

Gauchar: Army soldiers carry an injured rescued pilgrim on a stretcher in Gauchar on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Gauchar: Army soldiers carry an injured rescued pilgrim on a stretcher in Gauchar on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Gauchar, Jun 26 (PTI): The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the Mi-17 helicopter were today recovered near Gaurikund in Uttarakhand a day after it crashed during rescue mission, even as IAF chief NAK Browne ruled out possibility of any of the 20 men on board surviving.

“We have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. And, I think, in a few days’ time, we will get to know absolutely as to what exactly happened,” he told reporters after interacting with IAF officers and men here.

Browne said he had been told there were no survivors among the 20 people on board…

 
June 25, 2013

U’khand floods: 15 bodies found floating in Ganga

Photo PTI

Photo PTI

Muzaffarnagar, Jun 25 (PTI): At least 15 bodies were found floating in in different districts of Uttar Pradesh including Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Bijnore, a senior official said today.

The district authorities have recovered the bodies and sent them for postmortem, Surinder Kumar Singh, District Magistrate said here.

Four bodies coming from flood affected Uttarakhand were recovered in Muzaffarnagar, five in Bijnore and six bodies in Bulandshahr, he said.

Meanwhile heavy rains have been reported in the district.

Five bodies swept away in the Uttarakhand flash floods were today recovered from river in Muzaffarnagar district.

“Five more bodies of Uttarakhand rain tragedy victims have been found in the river in Muzaffarnagar district,” IG (Crime) Ashish Gupta said.

Yesterday, 11 bodies of Uttarakhand flood victims were found in different rivers in Bijnor and Bulandshahr districts.

With this, a total of 16 bodies…

 
June 25, 2013

8 killed in IAF chopper crash in U’khand

An IAF helicopter dropping wood for cremation near Kedarnath Temple on Tuesday. PTI Photo

An IAF helicopter dropping wood for cremation near Kedarnath Temple on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Gauchar, Jun 25 (PTI) A large IAF helicopter today crashed during rescue operations near Gaurikund in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, killing eight persons onboard, including five crew members.

“One Mi-17 V5 chopper on a rescue mission from Gauchar to Guptkashi and Kedarnath while returning from Kedarnath crashed north of Gaurikund,” an IAF spokesperson said.

Eight persons onboard, including five crew members, suffered fatal injuries in the mishap, she said in Delhi.

A Court of Inquiry has been order to investigate the crash, the spokesperson said.

The IAF said its operations in the area will continue.

IAF had started inducting Mi-17 V5 choppers only last year after 80 of them were ordered from Russia.

This is the second incident of…

 
June 25, 2013

Death toll climbs to 822, 8000 still stranded in U’khand

 ITBP personnel rescuing a woman pilgrim with the help of a ropeway constructed above Alaknanda river at Lambagar in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

ITBP personnel rescuing a woman pilgrim with the help of a ropeway constructed above Alaknanda river at Lambagar in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Gauchar, June 25 (PTI): Over 8000 people remained stranded in Uttarakhand today with fresh landslides, cloudbursts coupled with torrential rains hampering rescue operations as the death toll climbed to 822 with 142 bodies being found, including 127 in Kedarnath.

Rescue operations were suspended in Joshimath due to rains while landslips in Tehri district left a woman and a child dead. There were also reports of fresh cloudburst in Devprayag and heavy downpour in Augustya Muni in Rudraprayag.

127 more bodies were recovered since yesterday from Kedarnath area. At least 15 corpses were found floating in in…

 
June 25, 2013

Shiv Sena attacks Modi over ‘Rambo’ act, does a U-turn

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi  in Dehradun to visit flood-hit areas in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Dehradun to visit flood-hit areas in Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Mumbai, Jun 25 (PTI): BJP ally Shiv Sena today slammed Narendra Modi over his rescue efforts for Gujaratis from flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, terming it as “parochial”, and said Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was “large- hearted” in this mammoth task.

Drawing fire for his “Rambo” act by claiming to have rescued 15,000 marooned Gujaratis on a single day, Modi received flak from Shiv Sena, BJP’s oldest ally, which said he should have desisted from such action at a time when he is aspiring to become his party’s prime ministerial candidate.

“When Modi is being cheered as the likely prime ministerial candidate, it is detrimental to take a stance that he only…

 
June 25, 2013

127 more bodies recovered from Kedarnath

People clear road after the landslide in Gauchar on Monday. PTI Photo

People clear road after the landslide in Gauchar on Monday. PTI Photo

Dehradun, June 25 (PTI): Rain and fog today delayed rescue operations in Uttarakhand where the death toll in the calamity rose to 807, with 127 more bodies recovered from Kedarnath even as security forces began the process of cremating decaying corpses lying in the shrine premises.

Fresh incidents of landslips were also reported from Tehri district in which a woman and a child were killed. Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport but air rescue operations to evacuate around 9000 people have now resumed with improvement in the weather.

Official sources say that 127 more bodies were recovered since yesterday from Kedarnath area, taking the death toll…

 
June 24, 2013

Rains, landslips hamper rescue operation in Uttarakhand

Rescue operations being carried out by ITBP personnel through a temporary bridge over Alaknanda in Govindghat. PTI Photo

Rescue operations being carried out by ITBP personnel through a temporary bridge over Alaknanda in Govindghat. PTI Photo

Dehradun, June 24 (PTI): Bad weather returned to Uttarakhand today with fresh spell of rains and landslips in the higher reaches of Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts grounding rescue operations by choppers in the state where 10,000 survivors are waiting to be evacuated.

Not a single chopper has so far been able to take off from Sahasradhara helipad to rescue stranded pilgrims at Badrinath and affected pockets adjacent to it.

The same is the situation in Guptkashi and Gauchar from where no helicopter has so far been able to take off because of a thick veil of mist enveloping the area and intermittent rains.

In Delhi, Home Minister…

 
June 24, 2013

‘Kept hanging from Kedarnath temple bell for 9 hours in water’

Dehradun, Jun 24 (PTI): For 36-year-old Tehri resident Vijender Singh Negi, hanging from the Kedarnath temple bell while standing over floating corpses in neck-deep water for nine straight hours, proved a life saviour. Negi’s brother-in-law Singh Bhandari, a Delhi-based travel operator, said seeing him return alive was nothing short of a miracle.

“He stood hanging from the temple bell from 7 am to 4 pm, the day after the disaster struck. He stood on corpses to balance himself. His clothes had been torn to pieces by the water’s fury but he somehow withstood the force hoping to come out alive,” Bhandari said. Bhandari’s hotel located right beside the Kedarnath Temple got washed away in the torrent in front of Negi’s eyes, even as he jumped out of the building.

“My brother-in-law (Negi) jumped off from the roof of our three-storeyed hotel into the…

 
June 22, 2013

U’khand flood: Bodies pile up outside gate of Kedarnath temple

IAF helicopter Sarang landing for rescue operations as stranded pilgrims get down at Gauri Kund in Uttarakhand on Friday. PTI Photo

IAF helicopter Sarang landing for rescue operations as stranded pilgrims get down at Gauri Kund in Uttarakhand on Friday. PTI Photo

Kedarnath (U’khand), Jun 22 (PTI): The hellish rains have turned Kedarnath into a ghost town. Though the outer structure of the temple seems intact, there are bodies piled up outside its gate.

According to reports, rain water gushed into the town from the summit behind the shrine carrying rocks and boulders, destroying everything on its path.

The most ironic part of the tragedy is despite the mobile phone towers remaining intact, there is no electricity due to which people were unable to contact their families as their phones ran out of charge.

IAF has already started…

 
June 22, 2013

Uttarakhand: death toll may cross 1,000

A-washed-away-road-near-Dharali-after-flood-and-landslide-in-Uttarakhand.-PTI Photo

A-washed-away-road-near-Dharali-after-flood-and-landslide-in-Uttarakhand.-PTI Photo

Dehradun, June 22 (PTI): Racing against time in the face of predicted adverse weather, over 10,000 people were today evacuated from various upper reaches of flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, including the worst-affected Kedarnath, as the death toll may touch 1,000.

In all, 70,000 stranded people have been brought to safety in the mammoth ongoing multi-agency operations and more than 22,000 remain to be evacuated, according to information given by the Centre and the state government.

While tomorrow the weather may stabilise, those engaged in the operations are worried about the rain forecast for Monday and Tuesday that could hamper their work.

“The death toll is likely to be around 1,000,” Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna told reporters here as the Himalayan tragedy unfolded after the gushing waters left behind a trail of death and destruction.

A conclusive figure can be arrived at…

 
June 22, 2013

Army steps up ops in Uttarakhand as time runs out

Stranded pilgrims climb in a row as they are evacuated by army soldiers in Govindghat on Saturday. PTI Photo

Stranded pilgrims climb in a row as they are evacuated by army soldiers in Govindghat on Saturday. PTI Photo

Hyderabad, June 22 (PTI): Amid reports of deteriorating weather in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, Army Chief General Bikram Singh today said efforts have been stepped up to evacuate people stranded in the hilly terrain as “time is limited”.

“…Time is limited. We have a window till tomorrow because I have been told that the weather might turn bad again, but we are rushing our people there,” he said. The Army has also increased its footprint to over 6,000 personnel from 500 for the operation.

“Yesterday we landed our paratroopers…we are trying to reach even those areas where there is nobody at the moment just to…

 
June 22, 2013

[Photo Blog] Destruction of Kedarnath

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June 22, 2013

Army Chopper during relief action in Uttarakhand

 
June 21, 2013

Uttarakhand Floods: Operation Surya Hope underway

[PODCAST]

 
June 21, 2013

CORRESPONDENTS: Suicide? Why the Uttarakhand floods were a disaster waiting to happen

Part-1

Part-2 Part-3

 
June 21, 2013

40 bodies found floating in Ganges, Uttarakhand toll goes up to 207

An aerial view of a flood-hit area in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

An aerial view of a flood-hit area in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. PTI Photo

Dehradun, Jun 21 (PTI): Rescuers found 40 bodies floating in the Ganges river near Haridwar today taking the death toll to 207 in the massive flooding in Uttarakhand, as they intensified efforts to evacuate 50,000 people still stranded in different inaccessible parts of the hill state.

Nearly 34,000 stranded people were evacuated in operations on a war footing launched by multiple agencies including the Army, IAF and ITBP since the heavy monsoon rains pounded the state a week ago.

The IAF deployed 13 more aircraft for relief and rescue work, taking to 43 the total number of planes in operation.

The aircraft including IAF’s heavylift Mi-26 helicopters –the world’s largest chopper–for transporting fuel and heavy equipment required by the…

 
June 21, 2013

40 bodies found in Haridwar, toll in Himalayan tragedy 190

Army personnel carry out rescue work near a washed off road at flood-hit Hemkund in Chamoli district. PTI Photo

Army personnel carry out rescue work near a washed off road at flood-hit Hemkund in Chamoli district. PTI Photo

Dehradun, Jun 21 (PTI): Forty bodies of flood victims were today recovered from Haridwar, taking the toll in the rain fury to 190 as operations to rescue over 9000 stranded in Kedarnath and Badrinath were stepped up with the deployment of 40 helicopters.

As the magnitude of the tragedy continued to unfold, Uttarakhand Principal Secretary Rakesh Sharma said casualty figures can be “shockingly high”.

In Haridwar, SSP Rajeev Swaroop said 40 bodies of those killed in the flash floods and incessant rains have been found.

Rescuers were focusing on rain-ravaged Kedarnath area where 250 people are stranded before shifting focus to Badrinath where 9000 people…

 
June 21, 2013

Rescue efforts gather steam in U’khand, 40 choppers deployed

IAF personnel rescuing stranded passengers from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh on 20 June. PTI Photo

IAF personnel rescuing stranded passengers from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh on 20 June. PTI Photo

Dehradun, Jun 21 (PTI): Massive rescue operations were today launched in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand with 40 helicopters pressed into service to evacuate over 9000 people from Kedarnath and Badrinath areas as the state government said the toll in the rain fury could be “shockingly high”.

The focus of the rescue operation today would be the worst-hit Kedarnath area where 250 people are stranded, officials said.

The operation would then shift to Badrinath where 9000 people are stuck, they said.

As the rescue efforts picked up steam, Uttarkahnad Principal Secretary Rakesh Sharma said causalty figures can be “shockingly high”.

Terming it as the “worst tragedy of the millennium”,…

 
June 20, 2013

Uttarakhand survivors recall nature’s fury

 ITBP men rescuing stranded pilgrims using a rope at Govindghat in Chamoli district. Photo PTI

ITBP men rescuing stranded pilgrims using a rope at Govindghat in Chamoli district. Photo PTI

Dehradun, Jun 20 (PTI): For Ravindra Bhatt, a Kedarnath temple employee, coming out of the calamity that struck Uttarakhand was solely due to Lord Shiva’s “blessings”.

“I am a member of the temple committee. What I saw… we brushed with death that fateful night of June 16, the flood that took so may things from us. But, we were hopeful that this black night will be over… And, only we know how we bid the time that night,” Bhatt said in Kedar Valley.

According to Bhatt, it was actually “Gandhital that burst” throwing people helter-skelter, as it rained for 24 hours and more.

“To save myself, I climbed on the top of…

 
June 20, 2013

Thousands feared dead in U’khand, rescue efforts intensified

A view of submerged buildings in the flooded river Ganga in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Photo PTI

A view of submerged buildings in the flooded river in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. Photo PTI

Dehradun, June 20 (PTI): Amid fears of thousands left dead in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand, relief and rescue operations were intensified today with eight additional IAF choppers pressed into service to evacuate stranded people in Kedarnath which has suffered massive damage in flash floods and cloudbursts.

The State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre has said that casualties in the affected areas may run into thousands with about 90 ‘dharamashalas’ (rest houses for pilgrims) swept away in the flash floods.

However, the toll has been kept officially at 150.

So far, over 15,000 people stranded in Kedarnath and Govindghat on way to Hemkund Sahib have been evacuated to Joshimath relief camps through air and road routes,…

 
June 20, 2013

[First-person Account] ‘How I Survived 16 June Fury At Kedarnath’

PODCAST

 

 
June 19, 2013

PM announces Rs.1,000 cr relief for flood-hit U’khand

Prime Minister after doing an ariel survey of the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand state

Prime Minister after doing an ariel survey of the flood affected areas of Uttarakhand state

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today announced Rs 1,000 crore for disaster relief measures in flood-devastated parts of Uttarakhand where 102 persons have been killed and thousands left stranded at tourist spots and pilgrim centres.

Singh, who undertook an aerial survey of rain-ravaged Uttarakhand alongwith UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, said what they saw was “most distressing” and the priority for the authorities was to rescue the stranded and provide succour to those most in need of it.

Over 10,000 personnel of the armed forces, 18 helicopters and a transport plane of the Air Force have been deployed for relief and rescue operations in the state where thousands have…

 
June 19, 2013

22 choppers deployed to evacuate people in Uttarakhand: Govt

Stranded pilgrims being rescued with the help of helicopters at Joshimath in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, on Tuesday. PTI Photo

Stranded pilgrims being rescued with the help of helicopters at Joshimath in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, on Tuesday. PTI Photo

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI): Intensifying relief and rescue operations, the government has pressed into service 22 helicopters to airlift those stranded by flash floods in Uttarakhand where the death toll has mounted to 150.

With the weather improving today, Minister of State for Home Affairs RPN Singh said that nearly 3,000 people have already been evacuated.

The government, he said, has agreed to the demand for the supply of additional food grains in the flood-hit areas.

Addressing a special conference at the AICC heaqquarters along with party spokesperson P C Chacko, the minister said over 60,000 people reported stranded include those staying in hotels and guest…

 
June 19, 2013

Uttarakhand toll up to 150, rescue operations on

A bridge was washed away in Govindghat, Chamoli. Tehelka Photo

A bridge was washed away in Govindghat, Chamoli. Tehelka Photo

Dehradun, June 19 (PTI): With skies clearing, rescue of stranded people and relief operations intensified today in Uttarakhand where the death toll in the rain and floods shot up to 150 as thousands of pilgrims still remained stranded.

Reports today suggested that the famous Kedarnath shrine, where 50 people died in the landslide that accompanied torrential rain and flash floods, is intact notwithstanding the heavy damage all around.

With rains ceasing in the last two days, there were no fresh incidents of landslides and flooding.

Accompanied by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas while Union Home Secretary RK Singh also undertook a similar mission separately.

Uttarakhand Principal Secretary Om Prakash said the death…

 
June 19, 2013

SSB academy damaged in Uttarakhand rains

Photo PTI

Photo PTI

Dehradun, Jun 19 (PTI): The premier officers training academy of paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in Srinagar in Garhwal has been damaged in heavy rains and floods in Uttarakhand with the preliminary estimate of loss put at around Rs 90 crore.

The main building area and campus of the academy have been extensively damaged after the Alaknanda river changed its course due to heavy rains and dumped six-feet silt on the facility.

“It is a big damage to our academy in Uttarakhand. Fortunately there have been no casualties and we have sent our officers and other staff to safe locations,” SSB chief Arun Chaudhary told PTI today.

Chaudhary said the initial assessment of the damage to the academy is estimated at around Rs 90 crore.

The Director General will visit the spot tomorrow to assess the damage even as he instructed…

 
June 19, 2013

PM, Sonia to make aerial survey of Uttarakhand

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh making an aerial survey of the flood hit areas of Uttarakhand on June 19, 2013.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh making an aerial survey of the flood hit areas of Uttarakhand on June 19, 2013.

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi will today make an aerial survey of rain-ravaged areas in Uttarkhand where flash floods have claimed over a hundred lives and left thousands of pilgrims for Himalayan shrines stranded.

The situation created by the heavy rains and floods in the state was discussed at the Congress Core Group meeting this morning.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram told reporters after the meeting that the situation in Uttarakhand is better than what it was yesterday and Food Minister K V Thomas is taking steps to rush more food grains to the flood-hit…

 
June 19, 2013

Ganga’s Fury: The Uttarakhand Floods

 
June 19, 2013

Situation in Uttarakhand unprecedented: ITBP DG

Army soldiers rescuing pilgrims during their flood relief operation in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. Photo PTI

Army soldiers rescuing pilgrims during their flood relief operation in Chamoli, Uttarakhand. Photo PTI

New Delhi, Jun 19 (PTI): The rain and flood situation in Uttarakhand is quite serious and unprecedented, chief of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) today said here.

DG Ajay Chadha said rescue operations will gather pace as the weather has improved today and three battalions of the force (about 3,000 troops) deployed in the state have rescued thousands of people.

“Things are quite unprecedented in Uttarakhand. Situation is grim and quite serious. A number of factors have contributed to this situation like avalanche, cloud burst and continuous rains,” Chadha said before leaving for an aerial review of the state along with Union Home Secretary R K Singh and other ministry officials.

About 4,000 people have…

 
June 19, 2013

Monsoon havoc claims more lives in north, toll mounts to 138

Army personnel rescue stranded pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on 19 June. Photo PTI

Army personnel rescue stranded pilgrims to a safe place in flood-hit Govind Ghat in Chamoli, Uttarakhand on 19 June. Photo PTI

New Delhi, June 19 (PTI): Flash floods and landslips triggered by the monsoon fury left eight more persons dead, taking the number of people killed in calamity-hit Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to 138 even as 2700 pilgrims and locals were rescued from Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts.

The weather cleared in most places in the north making it easier for rescue personnel to launch operations for those stranded, especially in Badrinath shrine where 12,000 pilgrims are still stuck.

Disaster Management authorities said in Chamoli that eight bodies were recovered by villagers late last evening from Bansinarayan area of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary.

They…

 
June 18, 2013

Alert issued in UP due to heavy rains, flooding in rivers

Lucknow, June 18 (PTI): A high alert has been issued in Uttar Pradesh as water level in most of the rivers have touched the danger mark, while three persons lost their lives in Maharajganj district due to heavy rain which lashed most part of the state during the last 24 hours.

A report from Bahraich said that with the release of four lakh cusex water from Nepal at the Banbasa barrage, threat of floods loomed large in the district.

Sharda river was flowing above the red mark at Palia Kalan and directives have been issued to shift people in 44 villages of Mahsi area of Bahraich.

PTI Photo

PTI Photo

According to Central Water Commission sources, water level of Sharda, Rapti, Ghaghra, Burhi Rapti, Rohin and the Kuano river was constantly on the rise even as the…

 
June 17, 2013

People living in low lying areas along Yamuna being evacuated

Yamuna Nagar: Stranded villagers being shifted to safer places from the flooded Lapra and Odhri villages in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. Photo PTI

Yamuna Nagar: Stranded villagers being shifted to safer places from the flooded Lapra and Odhri villages in Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. Photo PTI

New Delhi, June 17 (PTI): Keeping in view the rising water level in Yamuna due to incessant rains and release of water by Haryana, the Delhi Government today started evacuating people living in low lying areas along the river.

Chief Secretary D M Spolia directed the Revenue Department to complete the evacuation of people by 12 noon tomorrow and gear up its machinery to meet any possible eventualities.

Spolia said Haryana has released eight lakh cusecs of excess water into Yamuna from the Hathnikund barrage near Yamunanagar this morning and the water is expected to reach Delhi…

 
June 17, 2013

10 dead in landslides, CM stranded in Kinnaur

Vehicles are drifted away by the flood waters after cloud bursts and rains. Photo PTI

Vehicles are drifted away by the flood waters after cloud bursts and rains. Photo PTI

Shimla, June 17 (PTI): Landslides triggered by incessant heavy rains and snow killed 10 persons in Himachal Pradesh and a high alert was sounded and army assistance sought for rescuing stranded people, including Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, in the tribal border district of Kinnaur.

However, bad weather thwarted efforts to evacuate Singh from Sangla valley where he had gone to campaign for Mandi Lok Sabha byeelections, Chief Secretary S Roy said.

Five members of a family, including three children, were buried alive when boulders fell on their house while five others were killed in landslides in three other places. Landslides also led to collapse of at least 50 houses.

Kinnaur district was cut…

 
June 17, 2013

Heavy rains in north trigger landslides, floods; toll 22

New Delhi, June 17 (PTI): Heavy monsoon rains today wreaked havoc in the hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and flooded parts of Haryana where the water level in the Yamuna rose alarmingly, leaving 22 people dead and l000 stranded.

The toll in the rain fury is expected to climb with 50 people missing in Uttarakhand where authorities suspended the chardham yatra to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The annual Kailash Mansarovar ‘yatra’ was also suspended in view of heavy rains in Uttarakhand.

The tribal Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh was the worst hit with nine persons dead in landslides that blocked important roads leaving Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh stranded in Sangla Valley.

About 1000 tourists and locals were stranded at various places, including 800 in Sangla alone and heavy rains were hampering the rescue operations.About 25 foreigners and a Doordarshan team were…

 
June 17, 2013

Kailash Mansarovar yatra suspended due to heavy rains

A view of the collapsed bridge over the flooded Alakhnanda River on 17 June following incessant rains in Rudraprayag. PTI Photo

A view of the collapsed bridge over the flooded Alakhnanda River on 17 June following incessant rains in Rudraprayag. PTI Photo

Dehradun, Jun 17 (PTI): The annual Kailash Mansarovar ‘yatra’ has been suspended today in view of heavy rains and landslides in Uttarakhand.

“The yatra has been stopped in Buddhi in Uttarakhand in view of landslides and heavy rains. The pilgrims have been accommodated in various locations and the route will be opened again after things get normal,” a senior ITBP official said.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) guards the yatra and pilgrims.

The annual pilgrimage that goes into Tibet had commenced last week after the first batch of 53 pilgrims from Delhi had reached Kathgodam in Pithoragarh.

A total of 18 batches…

 
July 28, 2012

Ganga Gapped

POLLUTION IN the is an important story that needs to be constantly told if we want the nation’s lifeline to survive. It is also important because it tells us the horrid story of bureaucratic apathy, and inefficiency at planning and looking ahead. The story of the failure to save the river can be summed up in one sentence: ‘Twenty seven years, and nearly Rs 2,000 crore spent, the is more polluted, more dirtier than ever before’.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Forests, in its report on the grants to the environment ministry for the year 2012-13, severely criticises the ministry for its failure to control pollution in the river. Criticising the Ministry for ‘only’ adopting an engineering-centric approach with undue emphasis on sewage treatment plants, the report…

 
June 30, 2012

Ganga Choked

NOT JUST dammed and polluted, the mighty is being mindlessly exploited for economic benefits. If construction of dams, barrages and tunnels is killing the river in its upper stretches, sand mining, illegal quarrying and ill-planned urbanisation are choking it downstream.

Most mining operations along the are unauthorised and companies often illegally mine deeper and beyond the permitted zones. The effects of rampant illegal mining are all too apparent. “Illegal mining has depleted groundwater levels, rendered farmlands barren and deepened the riverbed,” says Hemant Dhyani of Avhaan, an NGO working to save the river. “But there is nobody to check these companies because they have considerable political clout and are very well networked.”

Uttarakhand has 141 stone crushers along the riverbed, all of which have a flourishing illegal sand and stone mining business in the state. Tractor trolleys and trucks…

 
June 16, 2012

Ganga Polluted

IN THE upper reaches of the , numerous hydel projects threaten the river’s ecosystem. And in the plains, as the river flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, a toxic mix of untreated sewage, discarded garbage, agricultural run-off and industrial waste flow unabated into it. Hindus regard the water as pure; but in reality it is pure toxic muck! So much so that one of India’s most treasured resources was also crowned one of the world’s top five most polluted rivers in 2007.

A Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) study in 2011 slotted the water into four categories: A being fit for drinking, B for bathing, C for agriculture and D for excessive pollution. The presence of coliform bacteria in water is highly dangerous for human health, and in the waters, coliform levels are well above what is considered…

 
June 2, 2012

Ganga Damned


ONCE REGARDED
 as amrit (nectar), a river that sustained all forms of life, the is now threated by the very civilisation it once nurtured. Not only is the river being subjected to overwhelming human and industrial pollution, it is now being threatened by the construction of massive dams. These ill-conceived projects in its upper reaches are effectively throttling the at its very source, the Gaumukh. In some places, the dams are slowing the mighty river’s flow to a trickle. Dammed, diverted and overtapped, the most revered of Indian rivers is under grave threat.

While raising the issue in Parliament on 15 May, Samajwadi Party MP Rewati Raman Singh made an impassioned plea for saving the from dams. “Having commissioned the Tehri dam as the irrigation and environment minister of Uttar Pradesh, I have…

 
July 2, 2011

Hell in holy land

The quiet fast Swami Nigamananda rests in the lap of his guru Swami Shivananda

BABA RAMDEV knew how to catch attention. Infamously, he also knew how to run. Swami Nigamananda didn’t know how to do either. While Ramdev was hogging national attention with emotive issues like declaring all black money stashed abroad as “national wealth” and threatening to hang the corrupt, far away from media glare, Nigamananda, 38, had been fasting for a mind-boggling 68 days for something much more concrete — and of even greater national implication. Nigamananda was fighting to save the .

Finally, Nigamananda died on 13 June, in the same hospital, in the same ward where Ramdev was being treated in the ICU, after just seven days of fasting. Briefly, the glaring ironies around…

 
  • ksakthikumar

    We hope god ganga cool down and help the poor and old poeple…..

  • ch.durgaprasad12

    Dams are sacred but forests and hills are more…..