Uttarakhand glacier tragedy: 3 more bodies recovered from hydel project site, toll rises to 65

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Gopeshwar (Uttarakhand), Feb 20 (PTI) Three more bodies were recovered from the NTPC's flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project site on Saturday taking the toll in the February 7 glacial disaster in Uttarakhand to 65, officials said.

The bodies were recovered from the desilting tank near the Tapovan project barrage on Saturday, NDRF Commandant P K Tiwari told PTI.

Search operation at the project site has been underway on a war footing for more than 13 days since it bore the brunt of an avalanche triggered by a glacial burst over Rishiganga river in Chamoli district.

The 13.2 MW Rishiganga hydel project was totally demolished in the avalanche while the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydropower project suffered extensive damage.

With the recovery of three more bodies, the toll in the tragedy has gone up to 65 while 139 people are still missing.

Meanwhile, Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauria on Saturday asked the NTPC to press into service additional equipment and divert the course of Dhauliganga river to the other side so that its water does not flow through the barrage into Tapovan tunnel hampering sludge clearing efforts.

River water flowing into the tunnel from the barrage has been a major headache for rescuers at the tunnel making the muck clearing operations even more challenging, Bhadauria said.

Deploying additional equipment at the tunnel and diverting the course of the river will speed up the debris removal exercise which has been underway for more than 13 days, the DM said.

She said rescue operations at the main project site in Raini have been completed.

The DM added that the debris on the upper side of Rishiganga is now being scoured for any bodies that could be trapped, if any. PTI CORR ALM HDA HDA