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Uttarakhand govt says 'will investigate all aspects of glacier burst'

Residents walk on the bridge, built by army engineers near Raini village (PTI)Premium
Residents walk on the bridge, built by army engineers near Raini village (PTI)

  • A few days ago, scientists who are investigating the flood said that the incident took place after a Himalayan glacier from a remote peak fell into the water
  • A glacier burst in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District last week led to massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers

The Uttarakhand government will create a department to investigate the cause of the glacier burst that led to flash floods, state irrigation minister Satpal Maharaj said on Monday.

"All angles (related to the Chamoli glacier burst) should be investigated. We will form a department in our ministry to monitor and study all the glaciers through satellite," said Maharaj.

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"We are concerned over the way glaciers are melting and the tidal wave created in the mountains. The plutonium pack that was kept to monitor China's movement should also be investigated," he added.

Speaking about a lost plutonium pack in the region, the minister said: "Orders were made to place plutonium pack to monitor China's movement at the borders. We request the government to investigate the pack too."

In 1965 a plutonium pack was lost while installing a radar system on the summit of Nanda Devi mountain in Uttarakhand. Environmental experts worry that if glacier breaks in Chamoli cause any damage to this plutonium pack, it could lead to severe nuclear radiation pollution in the waters.

Maharaj further stated that the railway projects in the area are safe.

"As the water in the Srinagar dam was depleted, the debris flowing to the dam came to halt, keeping the railway projects safe," he said.

A few days ago, scientists who are investigating the flood said that the incident took place after a Himalayan glacier from a remote peak fell into the water.

"In the flash flood incident, scientists have observed a rockfall from a height of 5,600 meters. Since that support from the bottom had fallen, glacier fell down. The area has very steep slope into the mountain region," said the director of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the incident had reached 58 with 11 more bodies being discovered from Tapovan tunnel in Joshimath of Chamoli district. As many as 146 people are yet to be found.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel along with National Disaster Response Force and other sister agencies have been conducting search and rescue operation in Chamoli district.

A glacier burst in the Tapovan-Reni area of Chamoli District of Uttarakhand last week led to massive flooding in the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.

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