Terming the Uttarakhand tragedy a massive disaster similar to the tsunami devastation in Tamil Nadu in 2004, the Union Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram, on Sunday said the government was taking all efforts to rescue the stranded people and urged the media not to belittle the government efforts.

Apparently referring to some reports that picked holes in the relief and rescue operations in Uttarakhand, where over 1,000 people are believed to have died in flash floods and landslips, Mr. Chidambaram said the media should not debunk the government’s efforts in this hour of crisis.

He was speaking after dedicating to the nation the 4th Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Reserve Battalion at Amaravathipudur, near here. He shared the dais with Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

Jawans engaged in relief and rescue operations were working under extreme difficult conditions, risking their lives, he said.

“It is easy to write sitting in air-conditioned rooms…we should not belittle the services of the security forces.”

Mr. Chidambaram said the disaster had hit 38,000 sq miles in Uttarakhand, flooding the whole area.

The disaster was similar to the 2004 tsunami in Tamil Nadu and the 2011 earthquake in Sikkim. The government could not prevent such natural calamities but could mobilise its strength and save people, he said.

The government pressed into service the Army, Air Force, divers from Navy, Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Border Security Force (BSF) and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for relief and rescue operations.

The country was indebted to the jawans, who had so far rescued 40,000 to 50,000 people and a few thousand people were still stranded, he said.

He said the setting up of the CISF camp at Amaravathipudur would help develop the economy in the region. Growth took place only if such infrastructure was created.

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