The State government will study and prepare disaster management plans in places that see heavy footfalls, said Minister for Information and Infrastructure Santosh Lad, after his return from a 13-day ordeal in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.
“In fact, every State should follow this practice,” said the Mr. Lad, who recounted his experiences at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Bangalore Reporters’ Guild and the Press Club of Bangalore on Wednesday.
He said it was a stray but telling remark from a mother that “all politicians are frauds and they never deliver” that made him determined to rescue the stranded people in Uttarakhand.
“The mother, whose name I don’t remember, had been calling me in Uttarakhand to rescue her stranded son. When I said he was not traceable, she made this statement and urged me to at least bring the body,” Mr. Lad said. Finally, her son was traced and rescued, he added.
‘One of the biggest’
Mr. Lad, recounting his experiences, said: “I was more a volunteer than a politician or a Minister, and coordinated the rescue operations. Only after reaching Uttarakhand and spending a couple of days there did we understand the gravity of the situation.”
He felt the rescue operations in Uttarakhand is perhaps the biggest in the world.
To a question, he pegged the casualty count at around 15,000. At least 150 ft of silt must have filled the Kedarnath valley after the floods, he said.
Prone to landslides
Landslides are natural in the region as there are very few plateaus. All constructions, be it roads or buildings, were made by cutting into the mountains. The mountains were relatively newer formations and are prone to sliding, he said.
Speaking about rescue operations, Mr. Lad said inclement weather was the biggest hurdle, despite which about 12,000 people stranded in Badrinath were moved to safe spots. About 450 people from Karnataka, who were stranded between Badrinath and Kedarnath were among those rescued, the Minister said.