Uttarakhand Disaster: 136 Missing Person To Be Declared Dead

Dehradun: Uttarakhand government on Tuesday decided to declare over 130 persons missing after the disaster as ‘presumed dead’. The notification regarding this was also issued by the state health secretary Amit Negi on Sunday evening.

The government has invoked provisions of the Registration of Births and Death Act, 1969 which allow persons who are missing to be declared dead before the stipulated seven-year-period.

The notification stated, “In normal circumstances, the birth and death certificates are issued to a person at the place where he is born or died. But in exceptional circumstances, like the Chamoli disaster, if a missing person is possibly dead beyond all possibilities of being alive but his body is yet to be found, in that case the authorities could declare him dead by issuing the death certificate to his family members after a required inquiry.”

For the purpose of issuing death certificate, the government has divided the missing people in three categories.

“The first category has the residents of the area near the site who went missing from the site. The second has those from other districts of state who were present at the site while the third category comprises tourists or people from other states who were present at the site,” read the notification.

Under the process, family members will have to submit an affidavit regarding the missing person along with all the necessary details to the designated government officer concerned who will then issue the death certificate after proper inquiry. This will help in settling compensation for the families of those missing,” the notification mentioned.

The move, the officials said, has been initiated to sp[eed up the process of giving compensation to the affected families.

Of the initial 204 people missing in the Chamoli disaster, search and rescue workers have recovered 69 bodies while 135 are still missing.

Of the total 204 missing initially in the disaster, 139 are from NTPC’s Tapovan power plant and 53 from the Rishi Ganga project that was also damaged in the disaster caused by a rockslide and the formation of a glacial lake in the mountainous terrain. About 12 villagers living in the vicinity are also missing.

The disaster also washed away the lone bridge located near the Rishi Ganga hydel power project, cutting off 12 villages namely Lata, Bhangyul, Raini Chak Subhai, Juvagwar, Jugju, Reni Chal Lata, Pang Muranda Gahar, Tolma, Bhalgaon, Pagrasu and Loung Segdi. About 465 families living in those villages have been impacted.