Bad weather hampers cremation, relief work in Kedarnath
Dehradun, July 5: Inclement weather badly hampered cremation of bodies and removal of debris at Kedarnath today besides affecting distribution of relief in over 200 segregated villages where people have lost their homes and are faced with acute foodgrain shortage.
Though a 200-member team of experts drawn from different departments is already at the Himalayan shrine to speed up removal of debris and disposal of already decomposing bodies, they have not made much headway so far with only 59 bodies visible on the surface cremated in over a week's time in the valley including those disposed of within premises of the shrine.
While 36 bodies were cremated in shrine area earlier, 23 more bodies were cremated at Gaurikund and Junglechatti close to the temple on Wednesday after a gap of several days due to bad weather, DIG Amit Sinha told PTI.
However, not much has been done since morning today with rains lashing Kedarghati. Most of the officials admitted that the weather is hampering the exercise.
Distribution of relief in about 240 villages totally cut off is another headache for the administration with major roads in the worst hit Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts still closed for traffic and choppers being the only means to transport relief to affected people.
Tonnes of relief material provided by the administration, different states, political parties and NGOs are still stuck in government godowns of Guptkashi and Joshimath from where they are yet to be flown to people who need them badly as they face foodgrain shortage 19 days after the tragedy.
Report on missing children sought
Meanwhile, amid reports estimating that 1,200 children may be missing from Uttarakhand, a team of officials from WCD Ministry and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights who visited the state on Wednesday has asked the state government to come out with the exact figures.
The team comprising Joint Secretary Vivek Joshi and NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and emphasised the need to take care of orphaned children and trace those missing.
Earlier, NCPCR chairperson had expressed concern over the state government's claim of finding only one orphan. "I am worried and finding it hard to believe that they have found only one three-year-old orphan girl with deaths of many adults being reported," she said, adding that the girl, whose legs were fractured, is recuperating at a Dehradun hospital.
The team also held meetings with civil society representatives working in Uttarakhand and senior officials of the state government.