New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Monday directed the DRDO and the Uttarakhand administration to keep a constant watch on the situation in Chamoli district where flash floods triggered by an avalanche wreaked havoc earlier this month, assuring all assistance from the Central agencies to the state government.
In a multi-agency meeting, Bhalla also reviewed the status of a natural lake formed after the flash floods in the upper catchment of the Rishiganga river in Chamoli district.
The Home Secretary received information regarding reports collected by a joint team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which recently completed inspection of the natural lake formed in the Murenda area.
The lake’s frontage is approximately 90 to 100 metres and its length is around 500 metres.
Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, who joined the meeting virtually with his team, informed that based on the physical assessment of the lake made on site by multiple scientific agencies and satellite data, there is no imminent danger as the volume of water is less than expected which is flowing through a natural channel that has been widened.
Bhalla reviewed the action being taken to allow for more flow of water and removal of some obstructions which have formed at the site of the lake.
Both the DRDO and the state administration have been asked to keep watch on the situation in coordination with the Central and state agencies, an MHA statement said.
The Home Secretary also assured continued help and assistance from Central agencies to the state government as and when required to handle the situation arising out of the temporary obstruction.
The meeting was also attended by the Director General of ITBP, Member Secretary of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), DG National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), DRDO Chairman, senior officials of the Ministry of Power, officers from the IDS headquarters, and scientists from various Central agencies along with other senior officials of the Union Home Ministry.
The deadly flash floods triggered by a snow avalanche on February 7 had washed away a 520 MW downstream NTPC hydro power project at Tapovan, covering an approximately 14 sq km area. The lake was formed after the flash floods.
Another team of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology is also on the spot since Saturday to inspect the lake.
Nearly 204 persons went missing after the deluge in the Rishiganga river that also completely destroyed the 13.2 MW Rishiganga project.
Meanwhile, scientists and other agencies are continuously observing the Rishiganga lake at a height of 14,000 feet in Chamoli district.