Since June 24, 2013, 545 bodies have been disposed of and cremated in the Kedarnath Valley.

In the past two weeks, 15 bodies have been excavated from damaged houses in Kedarnath, Rudraprayag Superintendent of Police Barinderjit Singh told The Hindu. These bodies were recovered not as part of a combing operation but during minor cleaning up of the debris in the buildings near the temple.

Since June 24, 2013, 545 bodies have been disposed of and cremated in the Kedarnath Valley both, as part of the combing operations and debris clean-up. Almost 50 per cent of these bodies were recovered from Kedarnath itself.

On Monday, four bodies were recovered from the buildings in Kedarnath. Mr. Singh said, “People whose hotels and other buildings have been destroyed [in Kedarnath] have been given permission to inspect the damage.”

Mr. Singh said, “Labourers brought by the owners of the respective buildings are excavating the debris inside the buildings. Almost every day decayed body parts are being recovered during the excavation.”

Manual labour is being used right now. The required heavy machinery that will be brought into use for excavations has been kept in Gauchar, in Chamoli district. Authorities are yet to decide as to when the machinery will be brought to Kedarnath.

The relief and rehabilitation operations this year have already slowed down as snowfall has begun in Kedarnath. People have been permitted to clean up the debris in their respective buildings till November 5, 2013 after which the area will be closed for the year.