Gauchar: Army Chief General Bikram Singh today said the armed forces will continue their operations till all the people are rescued from various locations in flood-hit Uttarakhand.

Mr Singh, who is on a day-long visit to affected areas, said he had asked his commanders to launch relief operations in “very, very difficult conditions” in a proactive manner, without waiting for any requisition from authorities.

“We are getting information that there may still be some survivors in certain areas. Like I am told, yesterday we had an input that in north of Badrinath there were some people, 40
of them. We had launched sorties yesterday but couldn’t detect them.
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“We will be doing it again, if the weather permits. But endeavour is to locate all our citizens, wherever they are, and get them out,” he told reporters in Gauchar.

Mr Singh said he was visiting the area to laud the efforts of over 8,000 personnel of the Army, along with the troops of the ITBP, NDRF and IAF.

“This was also an opportunity to offer my condolences to people who lost their lives in the chopper crash. My heart goes out to them,” he said.

Many of the troops deployed in relief operations are from Garhwal Rifles unit, the Army Chief said, adding that Garhwal Scouts are from Uttarakhand and their families were also impacted by the flash floods.

“They are sons of the soil and a large number of them are affected too. I must tell you these boys have refused to take leave to attend to their kith and kin and rather render their duties. We all had a phenomenal synergy,” Mr Singh said.

On coordination among the forces operating in the area, Mr Singh said it was a “difficult operation but agencies worked in unison” to achieve the objectives.

“All the agencies have done their bit and let’s not count numbers. It was the synergy between all the agencies. The IAF has done a great job. There was a challenge as there were no roads and communication. I have come here to compliment the boys and give them ‘shabashi’,” he said.

Lauding the efforts made by Central Army Commander Lt Gen Anil Chait, Mr Singh said he had instructed him not to wait for any requisition before launching relief operations.

“And that’s what he did. From a footprint of 500, today we have 8000 troops, who were inducted into this area. I think it was a very speedy move undertaken by the Army commander, his formation commanders (and) unit commanders,” he said.

On the status of people stranded in Harshil and Badrinath, Mr Singh said they were getting essentials such as food and have been provided access to communication, and would be taken out from the areas, depending on the weather conditions.

After visiting Gauchar, the Army Chief said he will take an aerial view of the flood-ravaged areas, and will return to Dehradun by the afternoon, where he is scheduled to meet Chief
Minister Vijay Bahuguna.

The Army, since June 17, has deployed around 8,000 personnel along with its choppers for rescue operations.
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