New Delhi: Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat visited the rain-ravaged Mori block of Uttarkashi on Tuesday to take stock of relief and rescue operations, while the death toll in rain-related incidents in the district rose to 16.
He announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the natural calamity.
Search and rescue teams of the State Disaster Response Force recovered three more bodies from Sanel village on Tuesday, Uttarkashi’s Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.
The deceased have been identified as Ram Prasad, Sanjog and Sameel, he said, adding Sameel hailed from neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.
Makudi is the worst hit among the villages, where heavy rains led to the collapse of a number of houses early on Sunday. The six affected villages include Arakot, Makudi, Molda, Sanel, Tikochi and Dwichanu.
So far, seven bodies have been recovered from Makudi, four each from Arakot and Sanel and one from Tikochi.
The chief minister, who had sent his ministers to the disaster-hit areas of Uttarkashi on Monday, himself visited the affected areas along with Tehri MP Mala Rajya Lakshmi Shah, state BJP president and Nainital MP Ajay Bhatt and Vikasnagar MLA Munna Singh Chauhan on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation.
After an aerial survey of affected villages like Makudi, Tikochi, Kiranu, Chiwan, Balawat, Duchanu, Dagoli, Barnali, Gokul and Maunda, the chief minister met the affected people in Arakot and assured them of all possible help from the government, Uttarkashi District Magistrate Ashish Chauhan said.
He also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of those killed and free treatment of those injured, the district magistrate said.
The district administration has been asked to identify land where people who have lost their homes can be resettled.
Later, addressing a press conference in Dehradun, Rawat said 51 villages of Uttarkashi were affected in the disaster which caused losses of around Rs 130 crore.
Heavy rains in Mori block inflicted damage on an area spread over 70 square kilometres. Seventeen houses were destroyed and 115 others partially damaged, he said, adding four bridges and power supply lines in a 14 km area were also broken.
Giving details of the relief distribution exercise, the chief minister said 2,000 food packets, 1,000 kg of wheat flour, pulses, rice and 5,000 litres of drinking water, blankets, tents and medicines have been distributed among the affected people.
Ten helipads have been made operational in the affected area while four civil and IAF helicopters put into service to speed up rescue and relief works, Rawat said.
He said Rs 320 crore is at the disposal of the state government for relief and rescue works and as of now it needs no package from outside.
Meanwhile, relief material continued to be distributed for the third consecutive day on Tuesday with helicopters taking food packets, blankets, medicines and clean drinking water to the affected people.
The SDRF is setting up food camps in the affected areas and alternative roads are being built in areas where roads are blocked by rubble of landslides, the Uttarkashi district magistrate said.
An alternative bridge is also being built in Chiva by SDRF personnel.
Chief Secretary Utpal Kumar Singh also held a meeting to assess the damage caused by heavy rains in Uttarkashi and instructed PWD officials to take up connectivity restoration in affected areas on a priority basis.
He asked officials concerned to restore supply of drinking water in the affected areas expeditiously and ordered different departments to coordinate with each other so that relief reaches people smoothly.