Scientists indicate no immediate danger of water level rise from upstream lake formation
The rescue operation at the Tapovan hydel project tunnel in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli continued unabated on Friday, following confirmation that there was no immediate danger of water level increasing in the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers due to the formation of a lake upstream.
“Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (Dehradun) scientists carried out an aerial survey of the lake. They confirmed water discharge from the lake,” said an official, adding that scientists had later indicated there was no immediate threat of a flood in the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers.
Earlier on Friday, following reports about the formation of a lake, a State Disaster Response Force team comprising eight personnel, five porters and two guides reached the spot to assess the situation. It is also preparing a temporary helipad there. More information would be available once the team returned, said Deputy Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Nilesh Anand Bharne.
At the Tapovan tunnel, another official said the drilling operation to peep into a silt channel located about 12 metres below was stopped again after equipment broke down for the second time when it hit hard rock. “Almost two metres are still left,” he said. The rescue team is hoping to establish contact with the about 35 trapped workers through the silt channel as removing slush and debris from the main tunnel is taking time.
The death toll in the aftermath of the snow avalanche rose to 38 on Friday. The identities of 11 of the deceased have been determined so far. One of them, Basharat A. Zargar, was an engineer posted at the Rishi Ganga power project site. He was a resident of Soura in Srinagar, said an National Disaster Response Force official.
While 30 bodies have so far been found in Chamoli, three were recovered from Rudraprayag and one from Tehri Garhwal. “DNA sampling is being done to facilitate the identification of the victims. We have also written to the police in various States seeking help in this regard,” said Mr. Bharne.
Eighteen severed body parts have been found from different places in Chamoli.
Joint teams comprising about 1,000 officials and personnel from different Central and State agencies are currently involved in the search, rescue and relief operations.