Dehradun: Racing against time, the Uttarakhand government on Thursday decided that those missing in the flood-ravaged state will be presumed dead if they remain untraced till July 15 and asked officials to remain vigilant in the wake of warning of heavy rains over the next two days.
Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the exact number of people missing after the tragedy is 3,064 and the deadline for finding them is July 15. "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.
With the MeT department issuing a warning of heavy rains at places in Kumaon region over the next two days, Bahuguna said that for the next 50 hours the administration needs to be highly vigilant, adding 250 National Disaster Response Force personnel have been deployed in these areas.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force flew 70 civil administration personnel to the Kedarnath temple premises to clean the surroundings there. A team of seven mountaineers is also 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, an official said.
Mass cremation of bodies in Kedarghati held up for the past few days started with 23 more consigned to flames at Gaurikund and Junglechatti last night, DIG Amit Sinha under whose supervision the exercise is being undertaken said.
In Delhi, the government announced it will rebuild 10,000 houses and undertake other activities to develop infrastructure in all affected municipalities in the state. "All affected municipalities and notified area councils in Uttarakhand can be covered under Rajiv Awas Yojana as a special case to support reconstruction of houses of the poor and reconstruct and redevelop these devastated houses," Union minister Girija Vyas said in Delhi.