Uttarakhand Mishap: Mystery Continues Over Missing Kashmiri Engineer

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Basharat Ahmad Zargar

A Kashmiri engineer is among hundreds of people who went missing following a glacier burst in Uttarakhand state in northern India on Sunday morning.

BARELY 24 hours after he saw gigantic avalanche ravaging the power project site in Uttarakhand where his father had gone for the spot inspection, Saliq Zargar embarked on the journey to trace his missing father.

“We are yet to receive a word about his whereabouts from his company,” Uttarakhand-bound Saliq told Kashmir Observer.

“They told us that we have sent our team but they are yet to reach the spot.”

Basharat Ahmad Zargar, a Kashmiri engineer is among hundreds of people who went missing following a glacier burst in Uttarakhand state in northern India on Sunday morning.

A resident of Soura area of Srinagar, Zargar was working in a privately-owned Rishi Ganga power project (130 Mw), which is on the upper stream of the Alaknanda river site and was the first to face the brunt of the avalanche.

Zargar went missing after a glacier near Raini village above Rishiganga river in Uttarakhand burst.

“At sharp 10:28 am on Sunday, we spoke to him,” Zargar’s brother Muneer Ahmad told Kashmir Observer. “He was doing fine but as soon as we heard the news of the glacier burst, we tried to enquire about his well-being but his phone was switched-off.”

Muneer said his brother was staying in New Delhi along with his wife and was on an official trip to the power project site in Uttarakhand.

Zargar, according to Muneer, was project engineer at the company.

Currently, a joint team of the ITBP, Indian Army, SDRF and NDRF has mounted a massive rescue mission to breach a tunnel in Tapovan where 39 people, including plant workers and senior officials, are stuck.

The flow and debris from the river merged with that from the Dhauliganga river and damaged the under-construction Vishnugad hydropower project of India’s largest power generation utility in the Tapovan area.

At least 15 people have died due to the flooding caused by the glacier burst and close to 150 people are still missing.

Meanwhile, Deepak Katiyar, Managing Director (MD) in Kundan Group, told Kashmir Observer that the rescue operation is going on a war-footing and they are hopeful that their men are safe and sound.

“We are aware that one Kashmiri engineer along with our four employees are trapped inside the rubble,” Katiyar said.

“The rescue operation is going on,” he added, “we are trying our best to save them.”

Aamir Ali, Director Disaster Management J&K, told Kashmir Observer that they are yet to get the figures of people from Uttarakhand, who are still missing.

“But we are in touch with our counterparts there,” Ali said. “We have raised the queries of the missing Kashmiri engineer, however so far there is no response from them.”

Nasir Khuehami, a student activist present on the ground, said the missing Kashmiri engineer was working in Reshi Ganga Power projct Chamoli when he spoke last time with family on phone.

“DIG Nilesh Anand who is heading Control room of rescue and search operation told me that his phone is switched off,” Khuehami said. “Rescue operation is underway and we are trying to trace him.”

Amid all this, Saliq is getting worried about his father.

“We sent our friends to the spot to rescue my father,” he said, “but so far, we are yet to find any clue of him.”

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