Chamoli: A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Sunday, triggering an avalanche and a deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations, leaving at least seven people dead and 125 missing who are feared dead.
Sixteen men were rescued safely from a tunnel in the Tapovan project but about 125 were still missing. As night fell in the ecologically fragile Himalayas and rescue work in the difficult to access areas became more difficult, there were fears they may be dead.
The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers — all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga — triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the high mountain areas. Two power projects NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project and the Rishi Ganga Hydel Project were extensively damaged with scores of labourers trapped in tunnels as the waters came rushing in.