Though the West Bengal government announced a “package” of Rs 25 crore for rehabilitation of those affected by the flood, sources in the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) have confirmed that the Rs 25 crore fund was nothing but a part of development fund that the semi-autonomous body is entitled to.
The lake which has formed in the upstream of Rishiganaga in the flash-flood hit area in district Chamoli, is maintaining smooth discharge and there is no immediate threat from the water body. A team of the State Disaster Relief Force and National Disaster Relief Force reached the lake site on Saturday and provided a ground report to the state government.
Navneet Bhullar, Commandant of the SDRF, said, “The discharge of the water is smooth. Debris has created a field of about 500-700 metres on the front part of the lake. The ground, formed by ice, debris and boulder, is smooth. The water flowing downstream is clear, not muddy.” The SDRF/NDRF team found the lake over 200 metres long and 50 metres wide.
The team has started work to set up a temporary helipad near the artificial lake site.
Meanwhile, rescue teams on Saturday began boring a wider and deeper hole into the tunnel at the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project in an attempt to reach the around 35 people believed trapped inside for nearly a week.
The Silt Flushing Tunnel (SFT) was punctured on Friday night by drilling a 75 mm-diameter hole into it but now it is being widened to 300 mm so that a camera and a water flushing pipe could be inserted into the tunnel where the trapped are possibly located, general manager of the NTPC project, R P Ahirwal, said.
Rescuers said they were still hopeful of finding survivors, notwithstanding the challenges like the muck and the water from Dhauli Ganga constantly flowing into the tunnels. 38 people have been dead and 166 missing since the mishap