The toll in the Uttarakhand glacier disaster rose to 50 on Sunday as the rescuers recovered 12 more bodies, ANI reported, citing the State Disaster Response Force.
The bodies were found at the Tapovan tunnel and Raini village. Several people are still trapped inside the tunnel situated at the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project. The project suffered immense damage due to the avalanche and flood triggered by the glacier break.
On Saturday, rescuers began drilling a deeper hole into the tunnel to reach those trapped inside, PTI reported. Rescue efforts at the site have been on for the last eight days.
“We are working under a three-pronged strategy to reach to those trapped in the tunnel,” National Thermal Power Corporation (Tapovan) General Manager RP Ahirwal had told ANI. “The hole we drilled yesterday [Friday] is being widened to one feet so as to reach a camera and a pipe inside the silt flushing tunnel where the trapped are said to be located.”
He added: “A hole with a diameter of one feet will help send in a camera to ascertain their location and a pipe to flush out accumulated water from the tunnel.”
The official said that the other two parts of the strategy were clearing the desilting basin of the NTPC barrage, and restoring the flow of the Dhauliganga river to the right to remove hindrances in the sludge-clearing operation.
The glacier break in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district last week had triggered an avalanche and massive flooding. The torrent washed away two power plants and five bridges.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Jal Board on Sunday said that the mud and debris from Uttarakhand may affect water supply in some parts of the Capital.
“In the aftermath of Uttarakhand Disaster, turbidity in raw water fetched by Delhi from Upper Ganga Canal has increased to unprecedented levels,” Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Raghav Chadha tweeted. “As a result, Delhi Jal Board’s Sonia Vihar and Bhagirathi Water Treatment Plants currently operating at reduced capacity.”
Chadha added: “Water supply is parts of South, East and North East Delhi is likely to be affected. We urge citizens to use water judiciously. Water tankers etc. in adequate numbers are being deployed and all possible efforts being made to reduce turbidity.”