U'khand chopper crash: 20 bravehearts laid to rest

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New Delhi, June 28: The 20 brave hearts of the Uttarakhand Mi -17 helicopter crash are being finally put to rest today in Dehradun. These men have set an example for all to learn-placing the nation before self; all of them lost their lives in the ill-fated chopper crash on Tuesday while rescuing the stranded from the flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand. Bodies of 19 personnel out of 20 on board have been recovered.

The final farewell to the heroes would be given today in a 'Guard of Honour' to be held in Dehradun. "20 people belonging to National Disaster Response Force (nine), Indo Tibetan Border Police (six) and five from Indian Air Force will be a given guard of honour today at 12.30 pm in Dehradun," Vice Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) M. Shashidhar Reddy told reporters in Delhi.

Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna and Home Minister Sushil KUumar Shinde too would be participating in the ceremonial services. Mourning the death of the officers, the chief minister had declared a day of mourning on Wednesday, promising a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the deceased. He also offered free education for their children if they studied in Uttarakhand. REddy, however, said that he would take up the matter of extending more help to the family of the deceased.

The five IAF personnel who lost their lives included Wing Commander Darryl Castelino, Flight Lieutenant K Praveen, Junior Warrant Officer AK Singh, Sargent Sudhakar Yadav and Flight Lieutenant Tapan Kapoor.

Recent reports suggest that over 1 lakh people have been rescued from different places in Uttarakhand. "As many as 1,495 people have been evacuated till 2 pm today both by air and by road. A total of 1,04,095 people have been evacuated so far since the disaster struck," Mr Reddy said. While extensive evacualtion is still going on, it is expected that the rescue operation would be over by today, 12 days after the flash flood hit the state.

Throwing light on the loss of life and public property Mr Reddy said,"He said that 560 people have died in the disaster, 476 have been injured and about 344 people are still missing. A total of 2,232 houses, 154 bridges and 320 roads have been damaged due to the disaster. As many as 1,495 people have been evacuated till now, both by air and by road. A total of 1,04,095 people have been evacuated so far since the disaster struck," Mr Reddy said.

While the IAF and the security forces are still doing their best to manage the rescued, they are more concerned about handling the diaplaced. Over 16 lakh people from the four districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Garhwa have been affected by the Uttarakhand floods. Promising help to the displaced, Reddy ensured that specialists have been engaged in providing counseling to the people affected. RS 2,000 ex-gratia is also being given to the victims.

Meanwhile, the roads are being opened up in parts of Uttarakhand to facilitate faster rescue of stranded people.

In Dehradun

Uttarakhand CM Vijay Bahuguna, with IAF soldiers, observes a 2-minutes silence for the crew members of MI-17 helicopter that crashed during rescue operation.

In Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand:Army personnel rescuing stranded pilgrims in flood-hit Uttarakhand.

In Dehradun

Lt Gen Anil Chait, General Officer Commanding in Chief (GOC-in-C), the Central Command consoling escuedpilgrims from Tijam, Tawaghat and Lambagar Sector.

In Dehradun

Dehradun: A paramilitary soldier looks at the gate of an airport, covered with special announcements and pictures of missing people in flood affected regions.

In Uttarkashi

Uttarkashi: ITBP doctors giving medical care to injured women at Uttarkashi in Uttarakhand on Wednesday.

In Darchula

Dharchula: Saraswati Devi who delivered a baby during rescue in Tajim being carried by army jawans at Dharchula recently. Her husband (L) holds the new born.

In Pindari

Pindari Glacier: Army personnel busy in rescue operations at Pindari glacier in Uttarakhand recently.

In Pindari

Pindari Glacier: Army personnel make a new bridge to rescue people at Pindari glacier in Uttarakhand recently.

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