The rescue workers have so far recovered 36 bodies, of whom 10 have been identified. They are yet to find 168 persons of the total 204 who went missing after Sunday’s disaster.
The state director general of police Ashok Kumar said, “The rescue workers are putting in all efforts to clear the muck from the tunnel but are unable to make any progress because there is heavy muck inside. We have cleared about 100m of the tunnel.”
“The rescue workers on Thursday tried to get into the tunnel by drilling inside but to no avail,” said Kumar.
On Thursday, the rescue operation had to be stopped for about half-an-hour after the water level in the Dhauliganga river rose by about one-and-a-half feet. It was, however, resumed after it receded. The officials said that the water level likely rose due to the depositing of sediments upstream blocking the water flow.
“A team of rescue workers and experts went to check it on Thursday but couldn’t get a clear picture. They will go again on Friday for a recce to know what has happened,” said Kumar.
Earlier on Thursday, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat approved the plan of rehabilitating about 50 families from villages around disaster-prone areas in four hill districts, including Tehri Garhwal, Chamoli, Uttarakashi, and Bageshwar.
He also sanctioned ₹15 lakh for the installation of earthquake detecting sensors for the operation of the earthquake warning systems with the help of IIT Roorkee.
On Thursday, the governor of Uttarakhand Baby Rani Maurya visited the disaster-affected area in Tapovan to assess the ground situation and rescue work. Later on Thursday evening, the governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Koshiyari also flew down to Uttarakhand and met the chief minister and other officials to assess the current situation of rescue work.