Twenty bravehearts killed in Tuesday's helicopter crash in Uttarakhand were on Friday given a guard of honour, even as operations commenced to clear the layers of debris under which many bodies were feared buried, amid reports of 3,000 people missing.
Addressing a press conference after taking stock of the rescue and relief works here, Shinde said it was still not known how many people continued to be trapped under the debris following the rains fury.
He said priority would be given to evacuate the sick, old and disabled people, along with women, a large number of whom are stranded in the Badrinath area.
All out efforts will be made to find out those who are still trapped in the debris and those who continue to be missing after the Uttarakhand rains and floods disaster, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.
"We have to find out how many are still trapped under the debris," he said, accompanied by Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, NDMA Vice Chairman M Sashidhar Reddy and othersenior officials. The Home Minister said many people continue to be stranded in Badrinath and some other locations and more helicopters will be deployed to rescue all those who have not been evacuated yet."
He also gave an assurance that IAF choppers will remain in the state for another 15 days to rescue and provide succour. The Home Minister, who also reviewed rescue and relief operations, said more helicopters will be deployed to rescue all those who have not been evacuated yet.
Meanwhile, a Rs 195 crore-package was announced by the government today for reconstruction of the 'Char Dham' pilgrimage circuit, which was badly affected by the floods.
Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi said the fund will be spent for renovation and reconstruction of the sacred pilgrimage sites of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, and its surrounding areas and the roads connecting it.
Chiranjeevi told reporters in Dehradun that the Uttarakhand government will utilise the fund according to its requirements. Sending a word of assurance, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh said the armed forces will continue their operations till all the people are rescued from various locations in flood-hit Uttarakhand.