State reports first confirmed death in Chamoli
Jharkhand reported its first confirmed death in the Chamoli tragedy after a body fished out from the muck during the search operations in Uttarakhand was identified as that of Vicky Bhagat. The 26-year-old migrant labourer from Lohardaga, was working at a National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) project in Chamoli.
Vicky’s father, Karamdas Oraon identified his son’s body in Uttarakhand on Wednesday following which the mortal remains were handed over to the family, officials from the state control room in Ranchi said. An NTPC contractor conveyed the information to the state control room on Thursday and also shared evidence to confirm Jharkhand’s first casualty in the Uttrakhand disaster.
“Evidence has been received in this matter,” a press communiqué from the state control room stated.
Vicky was among the nine Lohardaga labourers who went missing from Chamoli when the glacial burst tragedy took place on February 7. At least four labourers from Ramgarh and one from Bokaro are also missing. So far, as many as 58 bodies have been found during the ongoing search operation in Chamoli.
As per records with the state control room, all the 29 Jharkhand residents stranded in Chamoli since the disaster have returned home safely. Some of the labourers working at NTPC projects were provided financial aid by their respective contractors to return home.
Meanwhile, kin of several other missing Jharkhand residents were camping in Uttarkhand to identify the bodies that are found during the search operations. The family members of all the 13 missing labourers from Jharkhand have also provided their DNA samples to the search teams in Uttarkhand to help identify the defaced and decomposed bodies.
Ajay Singh, an NTPC contractor said that the migrant labourers earned around Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000 per month for their work at the NTPC projects. Besides, they were also provided benefits of Provident Fund and other privileges. The NTPC, he said, has decided to pay a respectable compensation to the bereaved families and also offer contractual job to eligible family members of the labourers who lost their lives in the tragedy.
The state control room, run by Phia Foundation on behalf of the state government, is providing mental health assistance to kin of missing labourers. “The family members of those missing from Chamoli are suffering from depression and panic attacks. A five-member team is providing psychological support to them,” said a member of the state control room.