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Uttarakhand glacier break: Kashmir engineer missing as 30 people remain trapped in a tunnel

An engineer from Srinagar, who went missing after the glacier burst in India’s Uttarakhand on Sunday morning, remained untraceable on Monday. 

Basharat Ahmad Zargar, a resident of Soura, was in touch with his family till 10 am on Sunday, just before the debris driven by the glacier break hit the power project in Chandoli district.  

“I talked to him at 10:00 a.m. His last seen status on WhatsApp is also 10:25 a.m.,” the missing engineer’s brother Shabir Ahmad Zargar was quoted by the media. The family members on Monday headed to Uttarakhand.

Zargar was working with the Rishi Ganga power project, located on the upper stream of the Alaknanda river site. 

Aamir Ali, director of the J&K Disaster Management, said the youth “remains missing”. “The J&K administration is in touch with our counterparts in Uttarakhand. We are waiting for the reports from there,” he said.

Twenty-six bodies have been recovered and 171 people still missing after the Uttarakhand disaster apparently caused by a glacier burst, officials said Monday, as multiple agencies worked at rescuing over 30 workers feared trapped in a tunnel at a power project site.

Officials at the State Emergency Operation Centre reported the recovery of more bodies and feared the death toll would rise, a day after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier possibly burst through its banks in Chamoli district.

It appeared to have triggered an avalanche and a deluge that ripped through the Alaknanda river system in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.

Experts, however, are still trying to determine the exact cause of the disaster in Joshimath. 

The missing people include those working at the hydel power project sites and villagers whose homes nearby were washed away, officials said.

Two power projects – NTPC’s 480 MW Tapovan-Vishnugad project and the 13.2 MW Rishiganga Hydel Project – were extensively damaged with scores of labourers caught in tunnels as the waters came rushing in.

Thirteen villages are cut off due to the damage to roads and bridges, Uttarakhand Director General of Police Ashok Kumar said. Essential food supplies are being sent there by helicopters.

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