Millennium Post

SC wants to know actual number of dead in Uttarakhand from NDMA

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to file an affidavit within two weeks on the status of rescue operations in Uttarakhand where in one of the worst natural calamities, feared to have taken thousands of lives, has completely ravaged the hilly state
A bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik asked the NDMA to file an affidavit after petitioner in the case – Advocate Ajay Bansal – talked about confusion over the exact number of missing and dead persons and questioned the completion of the evacuation process. Bansal said that exact number of missing persons is still not known and that the NDMA was giving some other figure, while other agencies giving some other figure. Bansal also raised the issue of problems of local people in the hilly state.

Uttarakhand Government said that it has written to various state governments to give the list of missing persons to help it to arrive at the exact figure. The state government informed the court that pilgrims who were stranded in the various affected areas of the state have been evacuated. It said that only natives not wishing to move out are there.

Uttarakhand government had earlier told the court that the rescue operation is over, which was disputed by Bansal after which the apex court had directed the state of Uttarakhand ‘to file an affidavit of a competent officer indicating therein that the rescue operations are over and the immediate reliefs that have been granted’.

Earlier, hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which sought the direction from the court to the central and the state government to rescue stranded people, the court had asked the central and the state government to make all-out efforts to rescue them and to provide them food and drinking water.

‘We direct as an interim measure that all stranded people be provided immediate relief by the state and district authorities by giving them food, medicines and other essential things including fuel,’ court had said. It had also directed for deployment of sufficient numbers of helicopters, depending on the availability, for picking up stranded persons. It had also directed the authorities not to discriminate among the affected people in relief and rehabilitation operations after the petitioner alleged that government agencies are neglecting people stranded in Gangotri.
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