Srinagar: The fate of a Kashmiri engineer, who went missing after a glacier burst wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand on Sunday, remains unknown even as his family have joined the rescue operation to trace their loved one.
Basharat Ahmad Zargar, a resident of Soura here, was working on 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.
“There is little hope that our brother can be alive, but miracles do happen,” Zargar’s brother Shabir Ahmad told Kashmir Observer from Uttarakhand on phone.
Besides Zargar, hundreds of people, including labourers went missing after a glacier break triggered a surge of water in the Alaknanda river system.
As soon as Zargar’s family heard about the incident, Ahmad along with his nephew Saliq Zargar embarked on the journey to trace his missing brother.
“The rescue operation is very slow, the more time they take, the less chances of survival for the missing persons are there,” Ahmad said, adding “The local administration is busy in repairing a bridge and are least bothered about the missing people,”
He said, over 65 persons were stuck near the project site, 12 bodies were recovered, four were rescued and 52 others are still missing.
Ahmad further said that the four survivors told him that his brother tried to cross the river but the gushing water prevented him from doing so.
“The water was travelling at the speed of a bullet,” Ahmad quoted one of the survivors as saying.
He vowed not to leave Chamoli until the whereabouts of his brother are known.
Nasir Khuehami, a student activist who has been camping in at the spot after the tragic incident said the scenes from the ground are horrific. He said 36 dead bodies have been retrieved so far out of which only 10 have been identified.
On Thursday, the operation was temporarily halted for two hours following a rise in water level of Rishiganga River.
According to reports, Uttarakhand Governor Babu Rani Maurya had to face the ire of the families of those trapped inside a tunnel at Tapovan, when she visited the site to take stock of the rescue work.
The families waiting for over five days to be reunited with their closed ones broke down before the governor, seeking her intervention to expedite the rescue operations at the tunnel, where 25-35 people are trapped since the Sunday avalanche in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.
Back at home, the Zargars pin hope that the missing engineer might be alive.
“Umeed par duniya kayam hai (The world rests on hope)” Zargar’s cousin Ubaid Sultan told Kashmir Observer.
Terming his cousin as an asset for Kashmir, Sultan urged the J&K administration to take up the matter with the Uttarakhand Governor.
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