The ITBP has deployed its sniffer dog squad for rescue operations and the force has so far cleared 90 meters inside the tunnel near Tapovan Dam in Chamoli district, which was damaged after a glacier burst triggered a flash flood in the region, claiming several lives and nearly 150 missing.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which was pressed into the rescue operation soon after the incident took place on Sunday morning, further said that another 100 meters inside the Tapovan tunnel was to be cleared.
"At least 90 meters stretch of debris in the tunnel has been cleared till now. ITBP personnel are working hard to clear the rest of the stretch inside the tunnel. Another 100 mtrs believed to be left to be cleared," said the ITBP in a statement.
During the clearance, the force said it was using its expert sniffer dogs at the Tapovan tunnel for the rescue operations.
ITBP's Additional Director General (Western Command), Manoj Singh Rawat, took stock of the rescue operations by the border patrol organisation at the Tapovan tunnel earlier on Monday and discussed the map of the tunnel with the project authorities at the spot.
ITBP, one of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), has been playing a key role in the rescue operation.
More than 200 ITBP personnel reached the spot soon after the glacier breach on Sunday morning at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district triggered a massive flood that hit two hydropower projects -- NTPC Tapovan hydel power plant and Rishi Ganga hydel power plant.
"A total of 200 people are still estimated to be missing. However, we have so far recovered 11 bodies from the spot," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey told IANS after getting inputs from the state administration. Uttarakhand Director General of Police Ashok Kumar also communicated the same information to the media here.
The NDRF, ITBP and state authorities have been carrying out rescue operations along with the army in the region. The Centre is monitoring the situation and joint efforts of all the agencies are being made to rescue those trapped.
One column and Engineering Task Force (ETF) of the Army, with all rescue equipment have been deployed in the area. Indian Army personnel along with ETF opened the mouth of the tunnel at Tapovan in the flood-affected Uttarakhand's Joshimath as rescue operations continued more than 24 hours after the disaster hit.
Navy divers were also on the standby. Indian Air Force also helped transport the NDRF teams and relief materials. NDRF personnel carried the rescue work by clearing the debris with the help of excavators and shovels.
Terrain, low temperature and debris in the tunnel is posing a major challenge for the rescuers. Besides this, a team of scientists, which was flown to Dehradun last night, has also left for Joshimath area for surveillance and reconnaissance earlier in the day.
The team will keep a surveillance and do reconnaissance of the spot.
The glacial burst led to the rising of water levels in the river Rishi Ganga, which washed away the Rishi Ganga small hydro project of 13.2 megawatt.
The flash flood also affected the downstream hydro project of NTPC at Tapovan on the river Dhauli Ganga, which is a tributary of the river Alaknanda.
The flash flood occurred in Rishi Ganga at around 10.45 a.m. on Sunday due to a glacier falling into it and exponentially increasing the volume of water. Due to this, the Rishi Ganga hydro project was completely devastated. --IANS
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