The Uttarakhand government has begun the process to declare the 136 people missing since the glacier disaster in Chamoli on February 7 as “presumed dead”, The Times of India reported on Tuesday.

Uttarakhand Health Secretary Amit Negi issued a notification to this effect on Sunday, after which the government invoked the Birth and Death Registration Act, 1969. The act allows authorities to declare people dead before the specified seven-year period.

“In normal circumstances, the birth and death certificates are issued to a person at the place where he is born or died,” the notification said, according to Hindustan Times. “But in exceptional circumstances, like the Chamoli disaster, if a missing person is possibly dead beyond all possibilities of being alive but his body is yet to be found, in that case the authorities could declare him dead by issuing the death certificate to his family members after a required inquiry.”

For the process, the family members will be required to submit an affidavit and other details to a designated government officer. The official will issue the death certificates after proper inquiry. “This will help in settling compensation for the families of those missing,” the notification stated.

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The missing people have been divided into three categories. “The first category has the residents of the area near the site who went missing from the site,” the government notification said, according to Hindustan Times. “The second has those from other districts of state who were present at the site while the third category comprises tourists or people from other states who were present at the site.”

The rescuers had recovered 68 bodies till Monday. Fourteen bodies were recovered from the Tapovan tunnel, the centre of the massive multi-agency rescue mission.

The glacier break in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February 7 triggered an avalanche and massive flooding. The disaster caused extensive damage to the Tapovan-Vishnugad and Rishi Ganga Hydel Projects.