Rescue operation at Tapovan in full swing, water discharge from newly formed lake at the height of 14000 feet diminish future risks for villagers

The rescue operation is going on a full swing at Tapovan, Chamoli, to rescue about thirty to thirty five people inside the NTPC Vishnugad hydropower project’s tunnel with the National Thermal Power Corporation involving over hundred scientists to find ways and means to reach out to the trapped persons and evacuate them safely which is indeed an extremely difficult situation.

Efforts are being made to widen the drilling hole to about one feet that has been done yesterday so that a person could be send inside the tunnel to reach to the location where these people are trapped.

According to NTPC , efforts are being made to reach out to the men trapped inside the tunnel via HCC Audit where the muck is constantly coming down from the NTPC barrage and to the resulting basin creating immense bottlenecks in carryout the rescue efforts.

Till yet about 38 dead bodies have been recovered majority of them from the NTPC hydropower project’s tunnel with 169 still missing.

Meanwhile the good news is that the lake formed at Rishiganga catchment area about nine kilometres above Reiny village is regularly discharging the massive quantity of accumulated water.

According to a tweet posted by the Director General of Police, Uttarakhand Ashok Aggrawal : The commandent of SDRF Navneet Bhullar reached the recently formed lake at the altitude of about 14 thousand feet at Rishiganga catchment area and revealed that a large quantity of water is being discharged. Now there is no risk at all, tweeted IPS Ashok Agrawal.

This newly formed lake was first observed by the geologists while they were surveying the area from Helicopter on Thursday apprehending future danger signals. However, after the discharge of water from the lake, the authorities have heaved a huge sigh of relief.

According to the director of Wadia Himalayan Institute of Earth Sciences, Dehradun Kala Chand Sai the length of the lake is about two hundred metres. It has been formed about nine kilometres away ( on upstream) from Chipko leader Gaura Devi’s village Reiny and would normalise within two days as the water discharge is sufficient. This lake was formed in view of the blockage of water flow in Rishiganga due to accumulation of massive muck and silt including stones n boulders converted into slush etc.

It was feared that the lake may burst later on after accumulation of excessive water in it. But the discharge of water due to clearance of muck, eliminated the chances of any further risk. The rescue teams n NTPC are jointly busy funding ways to clear the muck n reach to the people in distress inside the tunnel with heavy machines reached the spot. The relief operations n supply of food materials to the affected villagers is also being made on a war footing through helicopters.


Sunil Negi

Sunil Negi is a senior journalist and president of Uttarakhand Journalists Forum ( Regd). He usually writes on socio political subjects and have been contributing articles in print media for the last several years. Mr. Sunil Negi had been felicitated by All India Achievers conference's Pride of India and excellence awards apart from several other recognitions. He has translated a book on ecological disaster of Uttarakhand of June 2013 and edited and published two editions of Uttaranchal's Who's Who.

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