New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The security officials on Thursday were forced to halt rescue operation at the tunnel in Tapovan where 25 to 35 labourers are trapped for more than four days since the glacial outburst in Uttarakhand. The officials said that the rescue operation was stopped as a "precautionary measure" due to a rise in water level in the Dhauli Ganga river but was resumed later.

Speaking to news agency PTI, Chamoli District Magistrate (DM) Swati S Bhadauria said that security personnel who were engaged in the rescue operations were ordered to vacate the downstream areas and heavy machines engaged in drilling through the debris and sludge inside were withdrawn.

The district administration has also issued an order, asking the locals to remain alert but have requested them not to panic and said that there is nothing alarming in the river flow as of now.

A mass rescue operation is underway in Uttarakhand's Tapovan where 25 to 35 people are trapped inside a tunnel following the glacial outburst in Uttarakhand that has claimed the lives of 34 people so far.

As per the Uttarakhand government, the bodies of 10 people have been identified but 204 are still missing, adding that DNA samples of the recovered bodies are being preserved by the officials.

"We were undertaking rescue operation in the big tunnel to remove debris till yesterday. We have also started drilling in a smaller diameter tunnel to see what is inside. But it has been suspended temporarily as the machine broke down," news agency ANI quoted Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar as saying.

Meanwhile, thousands of ITBP, NDRF, SDRF, Army and Air Force personnel are engaged in the rescue operations since Sunday. On Tuesday, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat also undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas, visited the ITBP hospital in Joshimath, about 295 km from Dehradun, and met the 12 workers who were rescued from a small tunnel in Tapovan on Sunday evening.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma