The Uttarakhand government and the Centre have decided to declare the missing persons in the aftermath of the Chamoli glacier burst as "dead". The disaster took place on February 7 and 204 people were initially trapped. Search and rescue workers discovered 69 bodies and 135 people are still missing.
The glacier breach at Joshimath in the Chamoli district triggered a massive flood that destroyed two hydropower projects near the Naina Devi National Park.
The state health secretary Amit Negi issued a notification on Sunday evening. The notification read: “In normal circumstances, the birth and death certificates are issued to a person at the place where he is born or died. But in exceptional circumstances, like the Chamoli disaster, if a missing person is possibly 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”.
The government has invoked the Birth & Death Registration Act, 1969, under which the designated government officer will issue death certificates of the missing people to their family or relatives.
The government has divided the missing people into three categories - residents of the area near the site who went missing from the site, those from other districts of state who were present at the site, and tourists or people from other states who were present at the site.