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India –Himalayan glacier collapse triggers flash flood in Uttarakhand

The collapse of a Himalayan glacier in the state of Uttarakhand in India has triggered a flash flood and damaged two hydropower schemes.

A major disaster rescue and relief effort is underway with hundreds of troops and paramilitaries sent to the region– at least 14 people are dead and 150 are missing.

Rescue and Relief Operations by the Centre and State Government are in full swing and 3 teams from the National Disaster Response Force( NDRF) have reached the spot.

A section of the glacier fell into a river causing a huge flood in northern India which burst open a dam.

The glacial burst led to the rising of water levels in the river Rishiganga, which washed away the Rishiganga small hydroelectric project of 13.2 MW. The floods have also damaged part of  National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) under construction hydropower project Tapovan Vishnugad 520 MW further downstream in the region.

The situation  in the state of Uttarakhand is continuously being monitored  – the state, in the western Himalayas, is prone to flash floods and landslides.

Commenting on the disaster, Shri R.K.Singh, the Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy, said,

“The natural disaster in Uttarakhand, where an avalanche has led to flash floods today 7th Feb,2021, is very sad and tragic.”

According to Shri Amit Shah, due to the glacier burst near Joshimath and avalanche, the flow of water increased greatly and first the water level started rising in the Rishiganga River and later in Alaknanda River.

Shri Singh added that he is continuously monitoring the situation to ensure quick relief and rescue operations and he is also in constant touch with Uttrakhand’s Chief Minister Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat.

Speaking about resue operations he said,:

“While rescue operation is on, we are assessing the ground situation with the help of district administration and police. SDRF, ITBP, and Indian army are carrying out rescue operation. Divers from Indian Navy are also in standby.”

The NTPC hydro power project which is under construction at Tapovan Vishnugad, is a run of river project with capacity of 4X130 MW. The project is still under construction and all the units were slated to be commissioned in 2022-23. The contracting agencies whose labours are M/s. Rithwik Projects Pvt. Ltd., M/s. HCC Ltd and M/s. OM Metal Infra Projects Ltd.

Shri Singh added:

“I have asked NTPC’s top management to travel to the site of the disaster for better coordination of relief operations. Twelve persons have already been rescued. We are still trying to ascertain the exact number of missing workers from the project site and we are praying that the causalities are not much.”


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