Free Press Journal

Never claimed Valley was clear of bodies, says U’khand CM


Harish RawatHarish Rawat

Dehradun:  After videos of skeletal remains of last year’s flash flood victims lying unclaimed in an area on way to Kedarnath was aired by a TV channel, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat today said his government had never claimed the Valley has been cleared of bodies.

“Last year’s calamity caused damage to vast swathes of land. Tonnes of rubble is lying in the area which, if removed, can cause great damage to Kedarnath temple.

“The state government never ruled out the possibility of bodies still being trapped beneath heaps of debris,” the Chief Minister said in a statement here.

Rawat’s statement came after a private news channel aired video footage of skeletal remains of those who died in the catastrophic flash flood lying unclaimed in Junglechatti area on way to Kedarnath even a year after the tragedy hit the state on June 16-17.

The Chief Minister also said that search operation to locate bodies is still on in the area. “It was suspended during winter due to snow. Now that it has melted the operation has been resumed,” he said.

Rawat said that it was no mean achievement of the state government that the ‘char dham yatra’ was begun on time.

A limited number of people may be visiting Kedarnath this year but efforts are on to restore the facilities so that people have a trouble free pilgrimage next year.

Terming ‘char dham yatra’ and tourism in general as the backbone of Uttarakhand’s economy, the Chief Minister said he expected cooperation from all quarters in this noble mission.