Uttarakhand natives in Delhi burst in emotion after flash floods wreak havoc

Delhi: 8 Feb, 2021 (Times of India)

NEW DELHI: Laxmi Prasad Dobhal, a 75-year-old native of Tapovan in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, got disturbed after hearing the news of the glacier burst and flash floods in the area.

Dobhal, who came to Delhi about 10 days ago to spend time with his children, wants to cut short his trip and longs to go home. His brother’s grandson, Amit, who works at an under-construction hydropower project, has been missing since Sunday morning. “The situation is bad at Tapovan. I don’t feel like staying in Delhi anymore. I want to return home to be with my people,” said the retired vice-principal of a school.
Shashi Bhushan Bahuguna, Dobhal’s son-in-law, said, “We have called Amit repeatedly since morning, but his phone is out of network coverage. Four other people known to us are missing. We have advised my father-in-law to only return home after assessing the situation for a day.”

“Seeing the videos of flash floods in the area where we used to hang out is very emotional and disturbing. We fear our property has got damaged. We are praying and hoping for the best,” said Bahuguna, who lives in Dilshad Garden and had visited Tapovan nearly two months ago.

Another family remained anxious for hours as they could not contact a relative. Pawan Kumar Maithani, general secretary, Garhwal Hiteshini Sabha, Garhwal Bhawan, said, “My nephew, Jeetendra Maithani (24), who lives in Rishikesh, had gone to an ashram in Joshimath four days ago. After repeatedly trying his number for over seven hours, we managed to contact him in the evening. He told us he was safe in an ashram.”

Maithani said he was flooded with calls in the morning. “Many families living in Delhi have relatives in Uttarakhand and were concerned about them. There was no clarity on the actual situation in the morning. The videos on social media were scary. The news created panic as many people connected it with the Kedarnath floods,” he added.

Vineet Rawat, a native of Gairsan in Chamoli district, was anxious after hearing the news of the flash flood. “I was worried about the well-being of my parents and younger brother. However, after I spoke to them, I learnt that the site of the flash flood was quite far from my home,” said the 23-year-old who works at a restaurant in Dwarka.

Pritam Pandey, founder of Devbhoomi Uttarakhand Samagra Vikas Sangathan, said, “I run an NGO in Uttarakhand. After the news broke, I contacted many people. We are relieved that they are safe.”