Its been 7 years since the Kedarnath disaster took place that left a trail of devastation in the holy city of Uttrakhand. Now, the government has launched an intensive week-long operation in Rudraprayag district, mainly in the area surrounding the Kedarnath shrine.
The main aim of this intensive operation is to search and recover the skeletal remains of the people who lost their lives in the Kedarnath disaster that took place in 2013.
For this search operation, the Uttarakhand government constituted a high-level multi-institutional Special Expert Committee on August 4. This committee comprises Scientists, members from these organisations, institutions in the committee are supposed to be qualified, trained and experienced in the shallow subsurface investigation to identify buried human remains.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by a Delhi-based social activist Ajay Gautam. He filed this PIL for finding missing pilgrims or their bodies and performing the last rites of the dead. As a result of this PIL, the Nainital High Court gave directives on 7th August 2020 to the state government for this week-long intensive operation.
According to the sources, skeletons were found in every operation carried out until 2018 however, no such operations were carried out in 2019.
Difference between past operations and this operation
All the past operations that were carried out since 2018, they were done by bigger teams who spent more days on longer routes. They had 10-members in each team and searched for 10 to 12 km routes mainly on the local routes.
But this time a smaller team with less number of members is formed and they will search for smaller routes. However, the assignment is tougher this time as they will have to search on higher places located up to 1-2 km in different directions from the main routes.
Previous search operations
According to the records, a total of 3886 persons were listed as missing after the Kedarnath disaster in 2013, and in operations that were carried out since 2013, 699 bodies have been found to date. 545 in 2013, 63 in 2014, 3 in 2015, 60 in 2016, 7 in 2017 and 21 in 2018.