Nainital, Nov 19: Uttarakhand High Court today asked the state government to form five Special Investigation Teams (SITs) and conduct a fresh search operation to find if there are any more bodies lying hidden in areas affected during the 2013-flash floods as human skeletal remains still being found in Kedar valley.
A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Rajeev Sharma and Justice Alok Singh said the state government should form five SITs headed by SSP rank officers to trace the dead bodies in different areas affected by the tragedy.
The SITs will comprise the officers drawn from the NDRF, police and paramilitary personnel, the order said. The Court also ordered that the last rites of the recovered bodies should be performed in accordance with their religion.
"The state government after tracing the dead bodies will prepare their DNA profile and inform the family members of the deceased. The state government after completing all codal formalities shall perform the last rites as per Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Muslim religion," the order said.
The High Court's order came on a PIL filed by Delhi resident Acharya Ajay Gautam who had contended that despite the state government admitting that around 3500 persons had gone missing after the devastating deluge, only 450 bodies had been recovered so far.
It meant that there could be more bodies or skeletal remains lying in affected areas. 31 skeletons had been recovered from the forests near Trijuginarayan area in Rudraprayag district last month, more than three years after the June 2013 calamity.
BSNL was directed to provide better telecommunication facilities on CharDham route while PWD was directed to maintain the roads leading to the Himalayan shrines in a better way.
The Court also asked the Government to provide more metalled roads for the purpose of religious tourism. The court instructed the state government to construct shrines between Govind Ghat and Govind Dham and provide for emergency stores within 10 km of one another en route to CharDham and Hemkund Sahib.
Such stores must always be equipped with condensed milk, blanket, sheet, ration, gas and water in sufficient quantities. In June 2013, a multi-day cloudburst in the state caused devastating floods and landslides becoming the country's worst natural disaster since the 2004 tsunami.
The torrential rains of unseen magnitude on 16-17 June caused widespread destruction and heavy losses to human and animal lives.