More than a fortnight after Uttarakhand’s destructive flash floods on 7th February, the state government has started to declare that the 135 people, who went missing after the disaster, are “presumed dead” and to that effect, a notification was issued by the government.

In the Chamoli disaster, initially, 204 people went missing and rescue and search workers have recovered 69 bodies and 135 bodies are yet missing.

On Sunday evening, the state health secretary, Amit Negi had issued a notification, following which the government has solicited the Birth & Death Registration Act, 1969. Under this act, death certificates of the missing people will be issued by the designated government officer to their family or relatives.

Negi said in the notification that generally, the death and birth certificates are issued to a citizen at the place where he is died or born. But in case of the Chamoli disaster, in such exceptional situations, “if a missing person is probably dead beyond all possibilities of being alive but his body is yet to be found, in that case the authorities could declare him dead by issuing the death certificate to his family members after a required inquiry,” he said.

The notification said that the first priority will be the missing residents of the area near or around the disaster site while the second category consists of people from other districts of state who were present at the disaster site. And the last category would be the tourists or people from other states who were present at the site.

Under the process, the family members of the missing residents will have to submit an affidavit concerning the missing person including all required details to the concerned designated government officer and after proper inquiry, the officer will issue the death certificate. “This will help in settling compensation for the families of those missing,” Negi added.

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