Fresh drive for missing persons to be launched in Uttarakhand    

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Dehradun, Feb 9: With a Rajasthani woman missing since the 2013 calamity in Uttarakhand resurfacing 19 months after the tragedy, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Sunday asked authorities in affected districts to launch a fresh drive to ascertain whether there are more such cases in their areas.

"The District Magistrates of all the affected districts have been asked to launch a fresh drive to search for missing persons if any in their areas," Chief Minister Harish Rawat said when asked about the Uttarkashi incident where a man from Alwar district in Rajasthan found his wife 19 months after the disaster in January this year.


The search operation for missing persons, if any, will be relaunched in all the affected districts including Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Pithoragarah. 45-year-old Leela Kanwar got separated from her husband Vijendra Kanwar at Kedarnath as the deluge struck the Himalayan temple on June 16-17, 2013 and was missing since then.

Though declared dead officially after she remained missing even seven months after the disaster, her husband did not give up his search for her and ultimately found her in a mentally unsound condition on January 3 from Hina village near Gangori Bazar in Uttarkashi district. She lived in anonymity by begging in the area until she was reunited by a sheer stroke of luck with her husband who has taken her back to Alwar where they hail from.

Rawat also said that Rs 5 lakh paid as compensation to Vijendra by Uttarakhand government for the loss of his wife will not be reclaimed.

"Taking a humanitarian view, we have decided not to ask the man from Alwar to refund the money paid to him as compensation now that he has found his wife.We would rather like him to spend that amount on her treatment," Rawat said.

The Chief Minister also praised Vijendra for the tenacity with which he kept searching for his wife despite her being officially declared dead.


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