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Uttarakhand

CBI unearths alleged recruitment scam in Indian Military Academy

 
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had registered two cases against three former officers of the Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun and others regarding alleged irregularities in recruitment for Group C and D posts.
 
A press release from the agency said the cases had been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) against the then MTO and then Catering Officer of IMA and then Administration Officer of RIMC, all of Lieutenant Colonel rank.
 
Cases were also registered against 21 candidates selected in the recruitment held by IMA in 2011-12 and other unknown persons regarding the alleged irregularities, it said.
 
These cases were registered after conversion of a Preliminary Enquiry which was being enquired by the CBI against unknown officers of Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and unknown private persons, the release said.
 
The enquiry was registered on the allegations that irregularities were committed by the officers of IMA during the process for recruitment of 59 Group ‘C’ and 227 Group ‘D’ category employees. It was alleged that candidates who did not fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria were recruited on false experience certificates and forged documents and answersheets of certain candidates were found to have been not written by them, the release added.
 
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Documentary film "Satyagraha - Truth Force" to be shown at Mumbai festival

Australia-born filmmaker LisaSabina Harney's documentary film, Satyagraha - Truth Force, has been selected by the 13th Mumbai International Film Festival to be held in Mumbai from February 3-9.
 
The film, which revolves around the mining and stone crushing mafia operating in Uttarakhand and the mysterious dath of social activist Swami Nigamanand in June 2011, had won the award for the Best International Documentary Film at the recent Dehi International Film Festival here.
 
Harney, in association with the Harvard Club of India, organized a private screening of the film at the Alliance Francaise here last evening for the film's cast and crew.
 
There has been a controversy around the death of Swami Nigamanand, who was on a "satyagraha" for 68 days,  about whether he died as a result of starvation or was poisoned.
 
Ms Harney was praised at the Delhi festival for her efforts to bring out the facts of illegal mining in Uttarakhand and the battle undertaken by the "sadhus" to save the river Ganga.
 
“The film shows in detail why mining the river is so disastrous. It’s crazy that they are considering mining again; they still haven't even begun the environmental impact assessment which was promised to the saints in 2011. In fact, they've never done one, ever. It's criminal in fact.  It is clear that mining is destroying the river, and the powers that be are turning a blind eye to it, unfortunately it’s the next generation which will pay for their mistakes," Harney said.
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Swami Shivananda Saraswati, head of Matri Sadan in Haridwar, present at the screening said “There is a nexus of politicians, administration and sand mining contractors. Several islands have disappeared in front of our eyes in the last twelve years. Every time we sat on fast, mining stopped. But each time the mafia was influential in it starting up again. This will not stop us from raising our voice against mining in the state; we will not let the sacrifice of Swami Nigamanand Ji go in vain. We are extremely happy that this story has been filmed by Lisa who has spent two years with us extensively researching the facts of the story.”
 
At the screening, Devashish Bharuka, Secretary, Harvard Club of India said, “The documentary film was truly touching and an eye opener. There is much we need to do to save our waters and the environment. This is the least we can do for the generations to come.”
 
Ramkishore Parcha, President, Delhi International Film Festival said, “I  believe that Delhi International Film Festival is aimed at reaching out to the audiences with not just Indian cinema but take it to the next level by bringing in global filmmakers and their work to be showcased in India. The platform is to bring together the diaspora of films from across all genres and create awareness about the films made in India covering all subjects. Satyagraha is a documentary that touches many serious issues being faced in Uttarakhand and those fighting for a cause to protect the Ganges from being destroyed by the mining mafia. We believe the film deserves to be seen by large number of audiences to increase the awareness about such serious issues.”
 
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World Bank to provide $ 250m loan for Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project

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India and the World Bank today signed the loan agreements for World Bank (IDA) assistance of $ 250 million for the Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project.
 
The Loan Agreement was signed here by Mr Nilaya Mitash, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr Onno Ruhl, Country Director (India) of World Bank on behalf of the World Bank.
 
The Project Agreement was also signed by Mr Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand on behalf of the Government of Uttarakhand. 
 
An official press release said the objective of the project was to restore housing, rural connectivity and build resilience of communities in Uttarakhand and increase the technical capacity of the State entities to respond promptly and effectively to an eligible crisis or emergency. 
 
The primary beneficiaries of the project would be the communities in the State that would benefit from the restoration of housing, rural connectivity, and risk mitigation infrastructures. By strengthening disaster risk management systems and institutions, the project has the potential to benefit the entire state of Uttarakhand. 
 
The project will have six components which are (i) Resilient Infrastructure Reconstruction, (ii) Rural Road Connectivity, (iii) Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Management, (iv) Financing Disaster Response Expenses, (v) Project Implementation Support, and (vi) Contingency Emergency Response. 
 
The release said the project constituted a large multi-sector engagement on risk and vulnerability reduction, with assistance for reconstructing damaged infrastructure, restoring connectivity and improving technical support for enhancing disaster risk management systems.
 
The Project Design has incorporated lessons learned from previous national and global post-disaster recovery projects to ensure that the recovery is targeted, effective and is built back “smarter” in order to build resilience of local communities to risks in the future. 
 
It is a loan for an implementation period of four years. Government of Uttarakhand is the implementing agency. 
 
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Minor earthquake jolts Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, jolted the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 31.2°N and longitude 78.3°E, occurred at 0826 hours at a focal depth of 10 km, a bulletin from IMD added.
 
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HCC wins Rs 1597 crore contract from THDC India Ltd

 
Infrastructure major Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) today said it had secured a contract worth Rs 1597 crore from THDC India Limited to construct the Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Power project in Chamoli district of Uttrakhand. 
 
This is an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract for civil works and hydro-mechanical works, including penstock steel liner of the hydro electric power project. 
 
The project will be completed in 54 months, a press release from the company said here.
 
The Vishnugad Pipalkoti project is a 444 MW (4x111 MW) run of river scheme on Alaknanda river, which is a major tributary of the mighty Ganga. 
 
The scope of work involves construction of concrete gravity dam (65m high), coffer dam, de-silting chamber, head race tunnel (13.4 km long, 8.8m dia), surge shaft, pressure shaft, underground power house and cavern, surge tank, tail race tunnel and hydro mechanical works. Around 12.5 km head race tunnel will be excavated using tunnel boring machine, the release said.
 
HCC has recently completed three hydel power projects in Jammu & Kashmir including Uri stage II, Chutak and Nimoo Bazgo and is currently executing eight hydro-electric power projects, including two in Himachal Pradesh, two in Bhutan and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, the release added.
 
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Azad lays foundation stone for Doon Medical College at Dehradun

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Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad laid the foundation stone for the Doon Medical College at Dehradun and the Agriculture University at Sehaspur in Uttarakhand, today. 
 
He also launched Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram, Free Drug Service, National Iron Plus Initiative and National Ambulance Service in the state.
 
Mr Azad launched a fleet of 220 ambulances under National Ambulance Service of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). He expressed the hope that this would lend strength to referral and emergency transport facility in the state. 
 
He said that 13 Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) have also been funded under NRHM in the state. The Minister said NRHM has injected about 18000 ambulances into the health system of the country with the aim of expanding the referral and emergency transport services. 
 
Mr Aza said the aim of the Government was to upgrade and strengthen healthcare systems at all levels across the country as part of its aim to provide accessible, equitable and affordable healthcare services to the people.
 
He said that so far more than Rs. 96,000 crores had been released to the states under NRHM and about 54000 new constructions or renovations of public health facilities have been taken up in the country. 
 
The Minister said that interventions and strategies introduced under NRHM had started showing discernible results and the health indicators are improving consistently. 
 
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Referring to two significant interventions to improve maternal & child health, Mr Azad said that the Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) and the Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) had increased the number of pregnant women availing the health facilities. He said these services were being made more comprehensive and efficacious to provide best care to the beneficiaries. 
 
Mr Azad said the Union Cabinet had recently approved a Cancer Programme worth Rs 4750 crore which aimed to set up 20 State Cancer Institutes and 50 Tertiary Cancer Centres. He announced the setting up of one State Cancer Institute (SCI) at Government Medical College, Haldwani and one Tertiary Cancer Centre (TCC) at Himalayan Institute Medical Sciences, Dehradun. 
 
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ADB to provide $ 200m loan to help Uttarakhand rebuild after June disaster

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The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $200 million to help Uttarakhand recover from unprecedented floods and landslides in mid-June this year which claimed hundreds of lives and affected close to a million people.
 
“The June disaster took many lives and wiped out the livelihoods of thousands,” said Mr Juan Miranda, Director General of ADB’s South Asia Department. 
 
“With rescue and evacuation activities completed, we now need to rebuild roads, power and water supply systems, and other infrastructure so that families can start to rebuild their lives. We need to act fast and do the rebuilding well," he said.
 
In mid-June 2013, major cloudbursts, heavy rainfall, and floods washed away several towns, with the districts of Bageshwar, Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Rudraprayag, and Uttarkashi worst affected. 
 
Almost 600 people were reported killed and more than 5,400 people are still missing.
 
A press release from ADB said a joint damage and needs assessment by the government of Uttarakhand, ADB, and World Bank estimated the preliminary cost of rehabilitation at close to $700 million. However, the final cost could rise to more than $1 billion.
 
ADB’s loan will be used to rebuild 2,400 kilometers of state roads and repair or reconstruct 16 damaged bridges. In eight to 10 towns, the funds will be used to repair 20 kilometers of urban roads and rehabilitate water supply facilities, including water treatment plants and 56 km of water pipelines. This rebuilt infrastructure will improve access to services, markets, and jobs, benefitting people and companies, the release said.
 
On top of the $200 million loan, ADB will also provide $15 million to repair damaged energy sector facilities under an already approved $300 million ADB financing facility that has been earmarked for the Uttarakhand power sector.
 
The rehabilitation works, due to be completed by the end of 2016, will be designed to better withstand future disasters, it said.
 
The State Disaster Management Authority of the state government of Uttarakhand will execute the project, the release added.
 
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Three months after floods, prayers resume at Kedarnath temple

Prayers resume at Kedarnath Temple
 
Nearly three months after flash floods and landslides wrought unprecedented destruction in many parts of Uttarakhand and killed hundreds of people, prayers resumed this morning at the Kedarnath temple, which bore the brunt of the tragedy.
 
The prayers resumed at the revered 6th century shrine, dedicated to Lord Shiva, around 0730 hours and continued till 1100 hours.
 
Rawal Bhima Shankar Ling Shivacharya, the chief priest of the temple, opened the portals of the temple and went into the sanctom sanctorum for the prayers.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna was among those who could not make it to the temple for the prayers because of bad weather.
 
The temple wore a festive look today, as it was decorative flowers and reverberated with the blowing of conch shells and recital of Vedic hymns.
 
With only a part of the area around the temple cleared of debris, it will be a while before pilgrims are allowed to visit the temple.
 
The date for resumption of pilgrimage to the temple is expected to be decided at a meeting on September 30.
 
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Minor earthquake recorded in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand

 
An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Uttarkashi district late last night, the India Meteorological Department said today.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.9°N and longitude 78.5°E, occurred at 0005 hours today at a focal depth of 11 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Public Relations Society of India contributes for Uttrakhand flood relief

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The Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) has contributed Rs. 2 lakhs to the  Uttarakhand Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the rehabilitation and relief activities in the areas of the state hit by the devastating floods and landslides in mid-June.
 
A cheque for the amount was handed over by PRSI national president Ajit Pathak to Uttarakhand Governor Aziz Qureshi here yesterday.
 
Dr Pathak was accompanied by  Ms Nivedita Banerjee, National Secretary Treasurer  and Ms Madhulika Burman, Chairperson, PRSI [ Dehradun Chapter]. Dr Qureshi also launchedthe new committee of the Dehradun Chapter at the function organized in Raj Bhavan.
 
The Public Relations Society of India is the apex body of public relations professionals in India, with a network of 25 chapters across the country.
 
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Govt. cancels batches 15-18 of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2013

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said it had decided to cancel all the remaining batches (15-18) of this year's Kailash Manasarovar Yatra in view of the situation arising out of the large-scale devastation wrought by flash floods and landslides in Uttarakhand in June.
 
"In view of continuing disruption of roads, bridges and tracks on the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra route, in the interest of safety and security of the yatris it has been decided to further cancel all remaining batches 15-18 of the Yatra-2013," an official press release from the MEA said.
 
The Ministry had, immediately after the tragedy, cancelled batches 2-10 of the pilgrimage on June 19.
 
Later, on July 8, it had announced the cancellation of batches 11-14 after a review of the situation.
 
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Uttarakhand floods: Families of 5748 missing people to receive relief

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said on Sunday that as many as 5748 people were still listed as missing after last month's flash floods which ravaged many parts of the state and the state government would now start the payment of monetary relief to their families.

Families of missing people to be paid relief: Uttarakhand CM
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today said that as many as 5748 people were still listed as missing after last month's flash floods which ravaged many parts of the state and the state government would now start the payment of monetary relief to their families.
 
Talking to newspersons here, Mr Bahuguna said that the legal procedure for declaring a person dead was a separate matter.
 
He said that since these 5748 people had been reported missing and had not been found even after a month of the tragedy, the government had decided to go ahead with the disbursement of relief to the affected families.
 
The state government had earlier given out an official death toll of 560 in the floods and landslides that had followed two days of torrential rainfall on June 15-16.
 
More than a lakh people stranded in different parts of the state had been evacuated to safety by air and by land over the next many days in an unprecedented search and rescue effort by the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and various other agencies.
 
Mr Bahuguna said that the state government would not issue death certificates yet for the missing persons and would continue its efforts to trace them.
 
At the same time, taking into account the difficulties and the grief of the affected families, the government had decided to start disbursing the relief payments.
 
The 5748 people listed as missing are from 18 states across the country, and many of them were in the state to visit the pilgrimage centres of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri when the tragedy struck.
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The Chief Minister said that if the missing persons were found, their families would have to return the money.
 
Of the total number of people missing, 924 are from Uttarakhand itself. Their families will receive Rs 1.5 lakh from the National Disaster Relief Fund, Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund and Rs 1.5 lakh from the State Disaster Relief Fund.
 
In the case of people from other states listed as missing, their families will receive Rs 1.5 lakh from the National Disaster Relief Fund and Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund along with payments announced by their respective state governments, he said.
 
About 2000 people from Uttar Pradesh and 1000 from Madhya Pradesh figure in the lost of those missing, along with people from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana, among other places.
 
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IAF pilots "evacuate" helicopter to safety on Thursday night in Uttarakhand

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Pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew a helicopter to safety at the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Gauchar in Uttarakhand last night after there was a possibility that the aircraft could be damaged in landslides.
 
A press release from the IAF said that the pilots, who were resting at the ITBP mess at Gauchar, were woken up by whistles after a landslide warning was issued for the area last night.
 
Everyone was asked to vacate the area and the sound of stones rolling down the hill created scary rumbe.
 
The pilots realised that their helicopter, an ALH MK I parked at the ITBP helipad, was likely to be damaged in the landslide.
 
Despite the fact that it was dark and that there was a drizzle and bad weather, they decided to fly the chopper to the ALG, which was just 5-7 minutes of flight away but did not have any night aids or even basic airfield lighting.
 
Since the rules do not permit night flying in the hills, the pilots  took advice from the Task Force Commander (TFC), Air Cmde Rajesh Isser. 
 
"After speaking to them the TFC was assured of the pilots confidence and ability to undertake the task. He briefed them for the mission and simultaneously activated other pilots and ATC at Gauchar to reach the ALG with torches and use vehicle lights to provide whatever assistance they could with the available resources. 
 
"At 2355 h the helicopter started in the dark drizzling valley and negotiating the weather, successfully relocated to Gauchar ALG," the release added.
 
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Minor quakes recorded in J&K, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity shook the Doda area of Jammu & Kashmir late last night, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 33.2°N and longitude 75.7°E, occurred at 0109 hours today at a focal depth of 10 km, an IMD bulletin said.
 
Earlier, at 0018 hours today, a minor tremor, measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale, was reported from the Dibang Valley of Arunachal Pradesh. It had its epicentre at  28.8°N and 95.9°E and occurred at a depth of 10 km, the bulletin said.
 
At 2131 hours yesterday, a minor quake, of magnitude 3.2, was recorded in the Ukhimath area of Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. It had its epicentre at  30.4°N and 79.1°E and occurred at a depth of 5 km, the bulletin said.
 
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MNRE sanctions 20,000 solar lanterns for flood-hit people of Uttarakhand

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The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has sanctioned central financial assistance of Rs. 4.4 crore for the distribution of 20,000 solar lanterns to people in the flood-ravaged areas of Uttarakhand. 
 
The Ministry will meet the full cost of solar lanterns to be distributed, an official press release said. Each lantern costs approximately Rs. 2200. 
 
This project will be implemented by the Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency, Dehradun, it said.
 
The release said Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah had instructed his Ministry to enquire from the Uttarakhand government about the ways in which it could help the affected people.

Govt. cancels batches 11-14 of Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra 2013

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The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) today said it had decided to cancel batches 11-14 of this year's Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra after a review of the situation in Uttarakhand, many parts of which were ravaged by flash floods and landslides following torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
The Government had earlier, on June 19, cancelled batches 2 to 10 of the pilgrimage.
 
A press release from MEA said three key bridges along the yatra route at Elagad, Tawaghat and Kanjoti, which were washed away, were yet to be repaired and restored. 
 
"The State and local administrative authorities estimate that such restoration work may take upto one more month to complete. 
 
"A decision on whether Batch Nos. 15-18 will proceed on the Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra will be taken at a further review in the last week of July 2013.
 
"Those Yatris who may desire to obtain further information may kindly contact the Ministry at e-mail ID: sochina@mea.gov.in or telephone number 23014900," the release added.
 
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IMD says heavy rainfall likely at one or two places in Uttarakhand in next 48 hours

 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh during the next 48 hours.
 
Large parts of Uttarakhand were devastated by flash floods and landslides tht followed torrential rain for two days on June 15-16, causing widespread destruction of lives and property.
 
In its weekly press release on the monsoon issued here yesterday, the IMD also warned that heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, coastal Karnataka and Kerala during the next 72 hours and over Assam & Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh during the next 48 hours.
 
It said heavy rainfall would occur at one or two places over Konkan & Goa during the next 48 hours and heavy to very heavy for subsequent 24 hours.

Minor quake recorded in Chakrata area of Uttarakhand

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 3.0 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Chakrata area of Dehradun district in Uttarakhand in the early hours of today.
 
A bulletin from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 30.6°N and longitude 77.8°E, occurred at 0128 hours today at a focal depth of 9 km.
 
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Met Department says heavy rains likely at some places in Uttarakhand in next 72 hours

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The Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand has issued an advisory that the Meteorological Department had predicted that, in the coming 72 hours, there is possibility of heavy rains (70-90 mm) at some places of Chamoli and Kumaon region of the state.
 
This was especially likely in Pithoragarh, Champawat, Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar districts, a press release from the state government said.
 
Medium rain fall (20-40 mm) is predicted at several places of Uttarakhand, the release said.
 
Chief Secretary has alerted the District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police to keep people at safe places and ensure that there is no loss of property and lives, the release said.
 
Several parts  of Uttarakand were devastated in unprecedented flash floods and landslides that followed torrential and incessant rains on June 15-16.
 
After the tragedy, there were allegations that the State Government had failed to act on warnings of heavy rains issued by the Met Department.
 
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While Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has put the death toll at around 1000, the actual number could turn out to be much higher when the search teams manage to dig through the tonnes of debris and silt in the affected areas. More than 3000 people are officially listed as missing, many of them people from other states who were on a pilgrimage to the temples in the Himalayan state.
 
The floods also caused widespread destruction of infrastructure like roads, bridges, buildings and houses.
 
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Centre to bear cost of reconstruction of Anganwadis in flood-hit Uttarakhand

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The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development has decided to bear the full cost of reconstruction, relocation and repair of Anganwadis in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.
 
An official press release said Minister for Women and Child Development had proposed to the Finance Minister to waive the State share for construction of Anganwadis which were destroyed or damaged by the recent floods and landslides.
 
Ms Tirath reviewed the impact of the floods on the children in the state at a meeting here today, the release said.
 
It said that the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme has a provision for construction of Anganwadis with 25% of the cost being borne by the concerned State government. There is a budget provision for construction of 20,000 Anganwadis in the current financial year. 
 
Preliminary estimates suggest that at least 30 Anganwadis and one CDPO office have been completely destroyed in the affected areas. The ICDS State Directorate has also been damaged. The present estimated additional cost will be about Rs. 1.13 lakh per Anganwadi. 
 
The full cost of reconstruction, relocation and repair of the Anganwadis that have been damaged or destroyed will be now borne by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, the release said.
 
The Minister has written to Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna regarding this waiver and requested the State authorities to assess the actual damage to the Anganwadis. 
 
The meeting also decided that Ms Kushal Singh, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and Dr Vivek Joshi, Joint Secretary in the Ministry, would visit the affected areas in the State tomorrow to assess the impact of the calamity on children.
 
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The tragedy has left many children homeless and orphaned. The visit by Ms Singh and Mr Joshi will help the Ministry to assess the scale of this loss and extend all possible help to rehabilitate the children.
 
Several NGOs and civil society organisations such as Childline, Mountain Children Foundation and Dehradun Childline are already working for the homeless and orphaned children in the affected areas. 
 
This visit will also help to coordinate the efforts of these organizations, the release added.
 
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Govt. to seek WB, ADB aid for rebuilding flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand

 
The Union Ministry of Finance has decided to seek external assistance from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the reconstruction of the infrastructure that was destroyed or damaged in the recent flash floods in Uttarakhand.
 
Loans from the multi-lateral development banks (MDBs) would be passed on by Government of India to the State of Uttarakhand as 90% grant and 10% loan, since it is a special category state, an official press release said.
 
Uttarakhand suffered extensive damage to physical infrastructure like roads, bridges, embankments, public buildings, houses and so on in the unprecedented flash floods and landslides that followed two days of incessant and torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
"The task of reconstruction and rebuilding the infrastructure would require huge quantum of funds," the release said.

Uttarakhand sets up reconstruction & rehabilitation authority for flood-hit areas

As the search and rescue efforts in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand are slowly being wound down, the state government today constituted the Uttarakhand Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority to take up the long and arduous task of rebuilding the lives and public and private assets destroyed by the tragedy.

Bahuguna assures rehabilitation in Uttarakhand
 
As the search and rescue efforts in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand are slowly being wound down, the state government today constituted the Uttarakhand Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority to take up the long and arduous task of rebuilding the lives and public and private assets destroyed by the tragedy.
 
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna said the authority would be entrusted with the task of rehabilitation of the disaster affected persons and reconstruction of the affected areas. 
 
In an important decision, he said the State Cabinet had decided to impose a complete ban on construction of buildings, including houses and commercial establishments, on the banks of rivers in Uttarakhand.
 
Vast areas of Uttarakhand were devastated by the unprecedented flash floods and landslides that followed two days of incessant and torrential rains in the state on June 15-16.
 
Television pictures of the tragedy had shown entire buildings standing on the banks of rivers being washed away by the swirling waters of the swollen rivers.
 
Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh met Mr Bahuguna in Dehradun today and took a series of decisions with regard to the reconstruction efforts.
 
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An official press release from the state government said all cut-off villages would be given sanction under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).  In the first phase, a total road length of 500 km will be taken, which could be increased to 1000 km, if the state government asked for it.
 
The release said 14000 additional units under Indira AwasYojana, the flagship rural housing scheme, would be sanctioned and additional funds alloted under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
 
It said the Centre would look into a request by the Chief Minister for the shifting of 238 villages requiring immediate rehabilitation.
 
The meeting also decided that a comprehensive reconstruction package would be proposed to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which would send teams to visit the state soon.
 
The State Government has also announced compensation rates for those whose restaurants and hotels were destroyed or damaged in the calamity.
 
Electricity dues and water tax for the disaster affected families will be waived from June 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.
 
Loans taken by disaster affected families from the Uttarakhand State Cooperative Bank and the District Cooperative banks will be kept in abeyance for one year. Likewise, on the loans taken by disaster affected families from nationalized banks, the Central Government would be requested to suspend the recovery of these loans for a year. This decision will be in effect for the financial year 2013-4.
 
All the affected families in villages which have been cut off would be given 15 kgs of rice, 15 kg of wheat flour, 5 kg of pulses, 3 kg of sugar, one litre of refined oil, spices, salt, match boxes and 10 litres of kerosene oil free of cost by the State Government.
 
For families with more than five members, two units of the above relief set would be provided, the release said.
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The State Government has also decided that all students of schools, intermediate colleges and ITIs would be given Rs 500 each, while those studying in polytechnic, degree colleges and other institutions will be given Rs. 1000 each.
 
Mr Bahuguna said that houses which stood on the banks of rivers and were destroyed in the disaster would be rebuilt only in strict compliance with  existing rules and regulations. The local administration will keep a close watch on all such constructions and ensure there are no violations, he said.
 
He also said that the state government would take full responsibility for the upbringing of all the children who had been orphaned in the disaster.
 
It was also decided that the relief amount for sugarcane will be 50% more than the compensation/relief of the normal crops, the release added.
 
The official death count in the tragedy has been put at 560 by the State Government, but Mr Bahuguna has said in the past few days that the number could be around 1000.
 
He also said yesterday that the number of missing people was around 3000 and they were yet to be accounted for.
 
He has also said that the death toll could rise once the rescue and relief teams dig through the tonnes of debris and silt in the areas ravaged by the floods.
 
Mr Ramesh said the decision to set up an authority for recontruction and rehabilitation was a progressive step that would inspire confidence among the people.
 
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He said the authority would, among other things, ensure transparency in the utilisation of the funds received by the state government from the Centre and other sources for the reconstruction of the affected areas.
 
Over the past two weeks, the search and rescue teams have evacuated more than a lakh stranded people from the affected areas and only some small numbers are still awaiting evacuation.
 
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Uttarakhand floods: Bahuguna says 3000 missing, exact toll may never be known

As search and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand reached the final phase, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna on Sunday put the number of people reported missing at around 3000 and said the exact number of those killed in the tragedy might never be known.

Bahuguna Assures Compensation To Families Of Victims In Uttarakhand Flood
 
As search and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand reached the final phase, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today put the number of people reported missing at around 3000 and said the exact number of those killed in the tragedy might never be known.
 
"After taking into account the reports of missing persons in different parts of the state, I have been told that the number of those missing is around 3,000," he told newspersons.
 
He said that the Government would pay compensation to the next-of-kin of those missing once they report the details of the missing people to the authorities.
 
He said the Government would wait for a month for the missing people to return or be located. If they remain missing after that the Government would pay the compensation to the next-of-kin if they give an affidavit, he said.
 
In the case of people from other states, he said the Uttarakhand Government had told other State Governments that the Chief Secretaries must verify the claims and send a report to Uttarakhand, which would then send the compensation to the Chief Secretaries after waiting for a month for the missing people to return.
 
On the final death toll, he was quoted as saying in media reports that the exact number of those who died or those who had been buried under the silt or washed away by the floods might never be known.
 
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State Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal had yesterday said that the death toll could be around 10,000, but Mr Bahuguna had later said that the figure was not correct. He said the State Government was trying to establish the loss of lives on a scientific basis.
 
The State Government, meanwhile, maintained the official death toll at 560, but Mr Bahuguna has himself said that the figure was around 1000.
 
He said the official death toll was based on the number of bodies found in Kedarnath and other areas. The final figures could be estimated only when the rescue and relief teams dig through the debris and silt in all the affected areas.
 
Meanwhile, the process of cremating the bodies is continuing, and an official statement said that 94 bodies had been cremated so far. Before the cremation, DNA samples of all the victims are being collected.
 
Official sources said about 400 people were still stranded at different places as of yesterday evening. But they also pointed out that many people would remain at Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri till the doors of the respective "dhams are closed for the winter in the second or third week of November.
 
In all, about 3119 people had suffered injuries in the flash floods and landslides that devastated many parts of the state following incessant and torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
About 1335 villages are still cut off, and efforts were being made to establish connectivity with them at the earliest.
 
The sources said that, as of yesterday, 108,253 people had been evacuated by air and by land by the search and rescue teams, which included personnel of the Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the Indo-Tibetan Border police and various state government and voluntary agencies.
 
Meanwhile, a team from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is in the state to assess the public health situation and provide assistance to the State Government.
 
As many as 40 chloroscopes and a large quantity of reagents have been sent for testing of water samples, to ensure safe drinking water supplies. 
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Teams from NIMHANS, Bangalore are in the State to provide psycho-social support for the survivors. Teams of cardiologists, medical specialists and psychiatrists have also been sent from Central Government hospitals.
 
Three truck loads of medicines from Central Hospitals have been dispatched and received by the State health authorities for onward distribution. 
 
The Centre is also sending chlorine tablets, bleaching powder and oral rehyderation solution (ORS) packets to the affected areas.
 
An official press release said no outbreak of water borne, food borne or air borne or direct contact diseases had been reported from the affected areas.
 
The Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) has provided seven truckloads of relief material that includes tents, family packs, kitchen sets, blankets, lanterns and so on.
 
As many as 1100 bags for carrying bodies have been arranged through IRCS and an additional 500 bags procured by the Ministry have also been sent to the state.
 
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Search, rescue efforts in flood-hit Uttarakhand move into final phase

As search and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand moved into the final phase, state government sources in Dehradun said on Saturday that all stranded pilgrims from Harshil, Matli, Bhatwari and Maneri had been evacuated.


 
Dramatic visuals of rescue operation from Gaula River
As search and rescue operations in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand moved into the final phase, state government sources in Dehradun said today that all stranded pilgrims from Harshil, Matli, Bhatwari and Maneri had been evacuated.
 
Rescue operations were going on in Badrinath but were hampered by inclement weather, they said.
 
The state government has placed the number of dead at 560, though Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna has said it could be around a thousand and other officials have expressed fears that the figure could be much higher.
 
In fact, Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker Govind Singh Kunjwal, who toured some of the affected areas, told journalists today that the toll could be as high as 10,000.
 
He said that he had made this estimate on the basis of what he had seen during his tour as well as on the information about finding of bodies and the accounts given to him by various people.
 
But Mr Bahuguna said these estimates were not correct and pointed out that the state government was trying to establish the loss of lives on a scientific basis.
 
The Uttarakhand government has put the number of people listed as missing at 1800 and said efforts were being made to locate them.
 
More than 105600 stranded people have been evacuated from the affected areas since flash floods and landslides caused widespread devastation in many parts of the state following torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
Though exact counts were difficult to come by, several hundred people were still awaiting evacuation from some of the affected areas, the sources said.
 
More than 27 helicopters were involved in the relief efforts today and air-dropped food material and other essential supplies, including medicines, in  Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts.
 
For providing relief, base camps have been set up at Gauchar, Matli and Joshimath. From these points the relief material will be distributed by air to all the affected villages, they said.
 
The sources said that, in the next three days, it would be ensured that there would be no food shortage in any of the affected villages.
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Till road connectivity is restored, the District Magistrates have been provided with helicopters to ensure that connectivity to affected villages is ensured.  
 
These choppers will take supplies to the affected villages and also airlift ill or old people requiring medical attention.  They will also airlift all those people who have some important commitments like interviews, examinations and so on.
 
Army and civilian helicopters will operate for the next one month to give air connectivity to affected villages.  
 
Meanwhile, the cremation of the bodies of those who had died in the disaster continued in Kedarnath, the worst-hit area. Medical teams are taking DNA samples of the bodies before the cremation is done.
 
Efforts are being made on a war-footing to reopen all the damaged roads and restore power and water supply to all the affected villages and hamlets.
 
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Shinde reviews Uttarakhand flood relief operations

Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, paying tributes to the IAF, NDRF and ITBP personnel who were killed in the recent helicopter crash in Uttarakhand, at a ceremony, in Dehradun on June 28, 2013.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and the Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, paying tributes to the IAF, NDRF and ITBP personnel who were killed in the recent helicopter crash in Uttarakhand, at a ceremony, in Dehradun on June 28, 2013.
Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde held a meeting with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna and senior officials in Dehradun today to review the search and rescue efforts in the flood-ravaged state and plan for the enormous task of restoration and rehabilitation that now lies ahead.
 
The meeting decided that all the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters involved in the rescue operations would remain stationed in the state for the next 15 days for providing food and other necessities to the villages which continue to remain cut off.
 
Mr Bahuguna has said that the death toll was about 1000 and could rise once the search teams dig through the silt and rubble in the affected districts, especially in Kedarnath, which bore the brunt of the flash floods and landslides which followed two days of torrential rains on June 15-16.
 
Official sources said that, for removing the debris and cleansing the vicinity of Kedarnath temple, JCB machines would be carried to the spot by helicopters.
 
A medical team from the Central government has been deployed to ensure that there is no outbreak of any contagious diseases in the affected area.
 
The sources said efforts were being made on a war footing to evacuate the remaining stranded people in Badrinath, estimated at about 800.
 
As the major part of the task of evacuating people from the affected areas has been completed, the Army, the ITBP, NDRF and other agencies wil comb the area in the coming days to ensure that no one is left behind.
 
While in Dehradun, Mr Shinde attended a ceremony at GTC ground to honour the 20 men of the Air Force, NDRF and ITBP who had died when an IAF helicopter crashed while on a rescue mission in the state.
 
Mr Bahuguna, Union Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhuwan Chandra Khanduri and Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh were also present.
 
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