An ITBP reconnaissance team visited the glacier-break site on Wednesday is suspected to have triggered the massive flash flood in Uttarakhand even as its chief SS Deswal said the rescue operation to locate the 30-35 workers trapped in Tapovan tunnel will continue till it reaches a "logical conclusion."
Deswal said the paramilitary force is "very hopeful" the workers in the about 1,500 metre long tubular structure marked as 'head race tunnel', out of the total 2.5 km length, are safe with the help of possible air vents in the structure. "We are very hopeful we will be able to rescue them. The workers are stated to be located at their work station that is about 180 metres from the mouth of the Tapovan tunnel," the ITBP chief said.
"I can tell you that we will continue our efforts till any length of time... for whatever time it takes to reach the logical conclusion and find the workers. My boys are determined to locate those trapped there and we may reach that slip tunnel spot (where those trapped are said to be located) by Wednesday evening," the DG said, adding, "The only important aspect is the trapped men should get some oxygen to breathe... they can survive in the given temperature and with available clothes they may be having."
He said an ITBP team also recced the site in the upper Himalayas, where it is estimated a glacier block cracked up leading to a flash flood in the Alaknanda river system that has killed 34 people while 206 people are missing.
2 listed as missing return home safely
Two persons listed as missing in the avalanche and flash floods returned to their homes safely on Wednesday after being stranded in different areas of Chamoli district following the calamity three days ago, officials said. Suraj Singh from Chamoli in Uttarakhand and Rashid from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh returned to their homes on Wednesday, additional district information officer, Chamoli, Ravindra Negi said. Singh and Rashid were among those missing after the calamity, as per official records. The duo were stranded while they were returning to their villages, the officials said.
Kin of missing protest
The families of workers missing from the Rishiganga hydel project site created a ruckus here on Wednesday accusing the authorities of not carrying out the rescue operations properly after the sudden flood in the Alaknanda river system wreaked havoc. The kin of 40 missing workers engaged in a heated argument with the authorities of the project for two hours, alleging lack of urgency in the rescue work.
"It is four days since the tragedy occurred but all the focus is on restoring connectivity. Rescuing the missing people does not seem to be the priority," alleged a man from Punjab, whose brother Jugal worked at the Rishiganga hydel project.