india glacier uttarakhand
Flood-affected villagers of Bhalla gaon after receiving relief material from authorities, in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Image Credit: PTI

Dehradun: The death toll in the Uttarakhand glacier burst incident reached 37 after one more body was recovered from the riverbank near Maithana village on Friday, Chamoli District Magistrate (DM) Swati S Bhadoria said.

Meanwhile, the Uttarakhand Director-General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said the rescue team will resume the drilling operation in the Tapovan tunnel to gain entry into a smaller tunnel which is 12 meters below the existing tunnel as there is a possibility of human presence there.

The operation was temporarily halted following a rise in the level of water in the Rishiganga River yesterday.

Kumar also informed that 168 people are still missing following the glacier burst.

“Out of the bodies, 10 have been identified. Last rites will be performed for the unidentified bodies after preserving their DNA,” he added.

The Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of SDRF Ridhim Aggarwal told ANI that there is a possibility that water is being accumulated above Raini village near the Tapovan area.

“Many aerial recces have been done. An 8-member SDRF team was sent today on foot to assess the situation. Further action to be taken after evaluation,” she said.

“The rescue operation is underway 24*7 since the glacier burst on Sunday,” said the team leader of Garhwal scouts Major Abhinav Awasthi.

“A team of Garhwal scouts is on standby near the Tapovan Project Site. Apart from that an engineering team and a medical team are present at the site,” Awasthi said.

“Around 70 employees of our company, including the agencies associated, were present at the site during the glacier burst. Around five employees were rescued, five have died and the rest are missing,” the CEO of Rishiganga Power Project S.D. Kamath informed.

Meanwhile, the government has started the distribution of ex-gratia of Rs 400,000 each to the kin of those who lost their lives due to the glacial burst in Chamoli.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on February 7 had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 400,000 each to the kin of those who lost their lives. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel are distributing ration and essential items in Suki, Lata and Bhalgaun villages that were cut off due to a flash flood in Dhauli Ganga.

A glacier broke in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand on Sunday, which led to massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.