135 missing persons in Chamoli glacier burst to be declared dead
Of the 204 people missing, search and rescue workers have recovered 69 bodies. However, 135 are still missing.
The Uttarakhand health department has decided to declare those missing in the February 7 Chamoli glacier burs disaster, as “dead”, state officials said.
Nearly two weeks ago, the glacier breach in the upper Himalayas gave rise to an avalanche and massive flooding along the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers. In addition to destroying countless homes, and causing hundreds to be stranded, a hydroelectric station and five bridges were washed away. Another power project also sustained major damage. Of the 204 people missing, search and rescue workers have recovered 69 bodies. However, 135 are still missing.
"Following a notification issued by the state health secretary Amit Negi on Sunday evening, the government has invoked the Birth & Death Registration Act, 1969, under which the designated government officer will issue death certificates of the missing people to their family or relatives", Hindustan Times said in a report.
The notification stated, “In normal circumstances, the birth and death certificates are issued to a person at the place where he is born or died. But in exceptional circumstances, like the Chamoli disaster, if a missing person is possibly dead beyond all possibilities of being alive but his body is yet to be found, in that casethe authorities could declare him dead by issuing the death certificate to his family members after a required inquiry.”
In order to issue the death certificates, the missing persons have been divided into three categories.
“The first category has the residents of the area near the site who went missing from the site. The second has those from other districts of state who were present at the site while the third category comprises tourists or people from other states who were present at the site. Under the process, family members will have to submit an affidavit regarding the missing person along with all the necessary details to the designated government officer concerned who will then issue the death certificate after proper inquiry. This will help in settling compensation for the families of those missing,” the notification said.