Missing lists in Uttarakhand swells as deadline approaches

Dehra Dun : With July 15, the deadline for the announcing the persons missing in the tragedy that hit Uttarakhand to be taken as dead and process started for disbursement of the compensation money, the list of missing persons has suddenly swelled and touched the over 10,000 mark.

The list of the number of persons missing in the tragedy had always been suspect, as it varied from person to person on a day-to-day basis. But normally the number varied between 3500 to 4500. However, as the deadline for declaring the missing as dead is nearing, the list has almost doubled, raising suspicion.

As per information in the state headquarters here, the maximum number of persons in the missing list is 2098 from the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh. The number of missing persons from the state has been constantly increasing over the past few days.

Government sources said that it had now been decided to cross check the names in the mssing list from various states. Though they hastened to add that cross checking the names and their authenticity may not be that easy, but efforts would be made to ensure that no bogus persons are given the compensation amount.

However, they clarified that in the case of some of the states where the list given by them tallies with the list that is with the Uttarakhand government, the work of disbursing the compensation, would be started immediately.

They said that what had led to fears that bogus names were being added to the list was the case of Uttar Pradesh, where initially for the past few days the number of missing from that state was out at 750. But suddenly this number has gone up to 2098 and was increasing even now.

Sources said that there could be many instances where the missing may actually never be known and some of the people may be deprived of their compensation money. It is known that there were quite a few persons of Nepali origin who were working in the Gauri Kund-Kedarnath stretch and they may have gone missing, but perhaps even their family members may not be aware of this fact.

While claiming that it was very doubtful that any one in the missing list may be surviving, they said that except for the interiors in the ram Bara- Kedarnath stretch and some of the adjoining villages, almost all the areas had been combed by commandos and as such there was no hope that some of the missing persons who may have taken refuge in caves in the higher reaches could still be there. By now they should have come down, they felt.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish had worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.

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