Dehradun: Pegging the number of pilgrims missing after the recent natural calamity in Uttarakhand at more than 3000, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Thursday said if they don't surface till July 15 they will be presumed dead.

"Considering the magnitude of the crisis, the state cabinet has decided that if the missing persons are not found by July 15, we will presume that they are dead and the process of paying compensation to their next of kin will begin", he said.

The exact number of persons missing after the tragedy is 3,064 and the deadline for finding them is July 15, he said. He said the process of payment of compensation to the families of those killed in the disaster will hopefully be completed by July 30.

With the MeT department issuing a warning of heavy rains at places in Kumaon region over the next two days, Bahuguna said that for the next 50 hours the administration needs to be highly vigilant. 250 National Disaster Response Force personnel have been deployed in areas where heavy rains are expected, official sources here said.

According to the MeT department, heavy rains are likely to hit the state on July 5 and 6 especially areas in Nainital, Pithoragarh and Udhamsingh Nagar districts of Kumaon region.

Cleaning of Kedarnath to begin soon

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday flew 70 civil administration personnel to the Kedarnath temple premises to clean the surroundings there after the area was ravaged by the recent flash floods in Uttarakhand.
"A total of 70 personnel have been inducted at Kedarnath for cleaning of temple surroundings by the IAF choppers," a Defence Ministry release said.

The eighth century shrine at Kedarnath withstood the cloudbursts and floods that swept away its neighbourhood and much of the town last month.

A team of seven mountaineers is also engaged in a combing operation in areas adjoining the shrine in search of bodies while over 50 members of a team of experts and volunteers is stationed in Kedarnath to clean the temple premises of tonnes of debris under which more bodies may be lying, an official said.
Mass cremation of bodies in Kedarghati held up for the past few days started with 23 more consigned to flames at Gaurikund and Junglechatti on Thursday night, DIG Amit Sinha under whose supervision the exercise is being undertaken.
In Delhi, the government announced it will rebuild 10,000 houses and undertake other activities to develop infrastructure in all affected municipalities in the state.

"All affected municipalities and notified area councils in Uttarakhand can be covered under Rajiv Awas Yojana as a special case to support reconstruction of houses of the poor and reconstruct and redevelop these devastated houses," Union minister Girija Vyas said in Delhi.

Government gets NCPCR rap

Uttarakhand government came under criticism from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights for not being able to provide it with adequate data of missing people including children in the tragedy.
"The government is still trying to collate the position of missing people including children as according to them same person has lodged a missing complaint in two three places. They have assured us that they will provide us with the exact data of missing persons by Monday," NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh.
She 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 the girl, whose legs got fractured, is recuperating at a Dehradun hospital.


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