ITBP chief visits Tapovan tunnel, Raini village in U'khand to take stock of rescue operations

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New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) ITBP chief S S Deswal on Friday visited the Tapovan tunnel and Raini village, which bore the maximum brunt of a recent flash flood in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district that has claimed 62 lives so far, even as over 140 people are still missing.

'The director general took stock of the search-and-rescue operations being conducted at the Tapovan tunnel. He also visited the other small tunnel, from where 12 people were rescued on February 7, the day the disaster struck,' a spokesperson of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) said.

He added that Deswal also visited Raini village, which got cut-off in the wake of the massive flash flood in the Alaknanda river system due to a suspected glacier burst.

The ITBP is engaged in the search-and-rescue operations in and around the village.

Deswal also conducted an aerial survey of an artificial lake that is suspected to have been formed in the higher reaches of Raini village in the wake of the glacier burst, the spokesperson of the force said.

The ITBP chief was accompanied by senior officers of the border-guarding force.

Deswal met the officers and personnel engaged in the rescue-and-relief operations in the affected areas.

The force acted as the first responder during the disaster and the troops of its 1st battalion stationed at Joshimath, about 25 km from Tapovan, and at the mountaineering and skiing institute in nearby Auli had rushed to the area soon after the flood waters began hurtling down around 10:30 am on February 7.

ITBP personnel are deployed in the state as part of their primary task of guarding the 3,488-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China that runs through Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. PTI NES RC