SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Thursday said the rescue operation at Baltal has been called off and none is missing.
He also said that he has requested the Surveyor General of India to conduct a Digital Contour Mapping (DCM) of Amarnath Cave Shrine and its adjoining areas so that steps can be taken to prevent human losses due to natural calamities.
Sinha was referring to reports about several persons missing in the aftermath of the cloudburst on July 8 in which 16 people lost their lives. “Helpline number of the shrine board had received about 200 calls and it took some time to track the yatris as their mobile phones were switched off,” he told newsmen here adding that only 15 pilgrims have lost their lives and all have been identified.
“A number of 55 Fifty persons were injured and all, except two, have been discharged and have gone home,” he said that two injured were undergoing treatment at SKIMS Soura here and their condition is stated to be stable.
J&K LG said that 14 bodies were sent to their families in different states while the cremation of one was done here by the family. He said the administration was in touch with all the state governments and as of now no person was missing.
Reacting to reports that the administration did not take adequate measures in the wake of a flash flood last year, Manoj Sinha said the flow pattern of both the flash floods – last year as well as the one in 2015- was kept in mind and the irrigation and flood control department erected a wall there.
“I have spoken to many experts, had that bund not been there, the disaster could have been worse,” he said adding that he has requested the Surveyor General of India to conduct a Digital Contour Mapping of Amarnath Cave Shrine and its adjoining areas.
“The survey will recommend steps to be taken for preventing human losses in case of natural calamities at the cave shrine as seen on July 8,” the LG said adding that he had even though a bund was constructed by the Irrigation and Flood Control Department, it is believed that the casualties in the recent cloud burst at Amarnath Cave Shrine would have been more if there was no bund.
“There is always room for further improvement…,” he said. He said as every pilgrim is insured, the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) will provide cash assistance of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who lost lives in the cloud burst incident at the cave shrine.
The LG said that some people are raising questions about increasing the number of pilgrims to the cave shrine but the fact remains that a committee constituted by the Supreme Court two years ago had fixed the number of pilgrims at 7500 from both routes – Chandanwari and Baltal. “The SASB, however, fixed the number of pilgrims for both routes up to 10,000 recently,” he said.
The LG hailed the contribution and efforts of locals while rescuing the pilgrims. “NDRF, SDRF, JKP and other Central forces played a great role in the timely rescue operation after the cloudburst. The rescue operation is over now and no one is missing,” he said.