Dehradun, June 25: Rain and fog on Tuesday delayed rescue operations in Uttarakhand where the death toll in the calamity rose to 807 with 127 more bodies recovered from Kedarnath even as security forces began the process of cremating decaying corpses lying in the shrine premises. Fresh incidents of landslips were also reported from Tehri district in which a woman and a child were killed.
Foggy and overcast conditions in Dehradun delayed take off by choppers at Sahasradhara helipad and Jolly Grant Airport but air rescue operations to evacuate around 9000 people have now resumed with improvement in the weather. Official sources that 127 more bodies were recovered since yesterday from Kedarnath area, taking the death toll to 807.
With rain hampering rescue operations from Badrinath where the majority of pilgrims remain stranded, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has appealed to their relatives not to run out of patience saying they are safe with enough supplies of food and and medicines made available to them.
Assuring them that their kin stranded in Badrinath will be evacuated safely at the earliest, he asked them not to worry. There are about five community kitchens being run at the shrine under the supervision of the district administration, he said.
Meanwhile, truck loads of dry Deodar wood and ghee have been despatched to Kedarnath and the effort is to begin the process of mass ritual cremation of bodies strewn over the premises after their identification, post mortem and DNA preservation formalities, sources at the state police headquarters here told PTI.
With the bodies already beginning to putrefy, the air is laden with a stench giving rise to fears of an epidemic outbreak in affected areas.
The state government has asked DIG police headquarters Sanjay Gunjyal and DIG Garhwal range Amit Sinha to ensure that the cremation process, which could not begin yesterday due to rains, starts today at Kedarnath which was the worst hit by the calamity.
A 42-member team of forensic experts and scientists had already left for Kedarnath yesterday to conduct the post-mortem of the bodies and preserve their DNA samples, police sources said. Help has been offered from different quarters to the state government to deal with the aftermath of the tragedy.
UP govt has offered the highest amount of Rs 25 crore followed by Haryana Rs 10 crore, and Rs 2 crore each by Gujarat and Rajasthan.