Uttarakhand flood: Antony highlights contribution of armed forces

New Delhi, Aug. 6 (ANI): Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Tuesday said the Indian Armed Forces made an invaluable contribution in the search and rescue operations in Uttarakhand, which was devastated by cloudbursts and floods in June.

Antony, who made a statement today in the Lok Sabha today on the Central Government's response to the Uttarakhand calamity, said the Air Force rescued 23,775 persons by deploying over 45 helicopters and carried out about 3500 sorties.

"The Army rescued 38,750 persons by deploying 8,000 personnel, 150 Special Forces and 12 helicopters. During the rescue operations, five Air Force personnel along with nine personnel of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and six ITBP jawans lost their lives in a tragic helicopter crash," he added.

Antony said the NDRF rescued 9,500 persons by deploying 14 teams.

"ITBP rescued 33,000 people. Essential supplies like food, drinking water, medicines, kerosene oil and blankets were continuously provided by airdropping as well as by land routes," he said.

The Defence Minister said more than 1,710 roads have been temporarily restored by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Public Works Department of Uttarakhand.

"Power supply of 3,700 villages has been restored temporarily. Also, about 1670 drinking water schemes have been restored for the time being," he said.

Antony said a highly commendable work by the Uttarakhand Government and all other central ministries and agencies involved during the long crisis period.

"The Centre has released about 400 crore rupees for relief and immediate restoration measures. Additional funds will be released depending on the state's requirements," he added.

The Defence Minister assured the House that the Centre will continue to support the state government for long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction to make it better equipped to handle such crises in future.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said the House will have a discussion on the Uttarakhand tragedy later. (ANI)

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