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Uttarakhand glacier burst: Tapovan dam completely washed off, says IAF

ITBP personnel carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. (PTI)Premium
ITBP personnel carry out search and rescue operation at Tapovan Tunnel after a glacier broke off in Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. (PTI)

  • Two bridges at the entrance of Malari valley and near Tapovan are also washed away, while the main road between Joshimath to Tapovan is intact
  • To speed up the rescue process, heavy excavators have been brought in to remove the debris and slush and to open the tunnel near the Tapovan dam in Chamoli

Chamoli: Tapovan Hydro-Electric Power Dam, also known as Rishi Ganga Project was completely washed off following a glacier burst in the Chamoli district, said the Indian Air Force's initial report as Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) deployed at Joshimath has undertaken recce of affected areas.

"The dam is called Tapovan Hydro-Electric Power Dam. It is on the confluence of Dhauli Ganga and Rishi Ganga. As per the recce Tapovan dam also called Rishi Ganga Project has been completely washed off," said the report.

It said that two bridges at the entrance of Malari valley and near Tapovan are also washed away, while the main road between Joshimath to Tapovan is intact.

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"Construction work and hutments on valley bottom are damaged. Rubble was seen from the entrance of Nanda Devi glacier till as down as Pipalkoti and Chamoli along Dhauliganga and Alaknanda," it added.

IAF said an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) deployed at Joshimath has undertaken recce of affected areas.

"Two IAF C-130 aircraft from Air Force Station Hindan have positioned NDRF teams at Dehradun, where Mi-17 and ALH helicopters are deployed for onward deployment to Joshimath. An additional ALH deployed at Joshimath has undertaken recce of affected areas," IAF tweeted.

It added that humanitarian assistance disaster relief (HADR) operations will continue tomorrow.

"Two An-32 aircraft have transported relief material and IN Marine Commando team to Dehradun. An IAF officer, as Task Force Commander, at Jolly Grant airport, is coordinating relief operations. HADR aerial ops will continue tomorrow," it said.

To speed up the rescue process, heavy excavators have been brought in to remove the debris and slush and to open the tunnel near the Tapovan dam in Chamoli. Increased water in the local river has been hampering rescue efforts.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Chief Minister Rawat to review the flood situation in the state. This was his fourth call regarding the matter. "Prime Minister Narendra Modi just called and inquired about the Tapovan disaster. The Prime Minister assured all the necessary help and instructed not to leave any stone unturned in the relief work. It was his fourth call in the day and shows the Prime Minister have affection for Uttarakhand," tweeted Rawat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to say he had spoken to Mr Rawat and said: "Am constantly monitoring the unfortunate situation... India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone's safety there." Home Minister Amit Shah also tweeted; he said the Modi government stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Uttarakhand.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat announced an ex-gratia of 4 lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives due to the glacial burst in Chamoli.

Addressing a press conference, Trivendra Singh Rawat said, "The state government will provide financial assistance of 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased."As it was the last day of the week (Sunday), fortunately many workers from Uttarakhand were on week off today, he added.

Nearly 180 sheep and goats were believed to have been swept away in the flash flood, said Rawat adding five locals including three shepherds and two women who were cutting grass had lost their lives in the disaster.

"We are assuming that around 125 people are missing. The number can be higher," Rawat said. He added that the government has all the needed assistance to handle the situation for now. Talking about the cause of the disaster, the Chief Minister said experts can tell the reason behind the glacier outburst, adding the government is focusing on saving the lives of people and the rescue operation.

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