Uttarakhand glacier break on Sunday highlights its vulnerability to flash floods and landslides and calls for review of power projects in the ecologically sensitive mountains.
What was the disaster?
The hill state came under shock when a glacier broke into floods near Raini village above Rishiganga river endangering the life and liberty of people. Air Force carried reconnaissance flights and found rubble all over from the entrance of Nanda Devi glacier to Pipalkoti and Chamoli along Dhauliganga and Alaknanda. The disaster resulted in heavy loss to Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower plant and 170 people missing from the facility.
Where was Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower plant situated?
Located at the confluence of Dhauliganga and Rishiganga rivers, the dam faced maximum damage from the flood. The Air Force found that it was completely washed off in the disaster. It was a 520 MW hydro-electric project being constructed by state-run NTPC Limited at a cost of nearly ₹ 3,000 crore. NTPC also said that its Vishnugad project was damaged in the avalanche and that it was monitoring the situation. Picture from the reconnaissance flight also showed the two bridges situated at the entrance of Malari valley and near Tapovan washed away in the flood.
Is there any collateral damage assessment?
Construction work and hutments in the valley were damaged in the pictures. But the road connectivity from Joshimath and Tapovan was seen intact in the aerial survey. Soon after the tragedy, Air Force, Army and Navy were pressed into action to expedite the rescue work.