DEHRADUN -- Amid hue and cry over skeletal remains still being found in Kedar valley, Rudraprayag District Magistrate Raghav Langar on Sunday said considering the magnitude of the 2013 disaster, it would not be surprising even if human remains are found in the valley quarter of a century later.
He, however, said that the ruckus being raised by political parties over skeletal remains still being found in the valley will only harm tourism in Uttarakhand, the mainstay of its economy,
"I can't understand the logic behind hue and cry over human remains being found in the valley even three years after the tragedy. Just look at the magnitude of the calamity. From Kedar valley alone 3,985 people went missing who were later declared dead. Out of this skeletal remains of only 827 were found and disposed of.
"That brings us to the conclusion that the rest are still untraced and lying somewhere buried under tonnes of debris. In the light of this fact I would not be surprised if human skeletal remains are found in Kedar valley even 25 years from now," Langar told PTI.
The topography of the valley has undergone imperceptible changes after the 2013 deluge and when it regains it original shape through a geological process 25 years hence, it would not be surprising if skeletal remains of people killed in the tragedy come back to the surface," Langar said.
Praising different agencies for carrying out a prolonged operation at those heights to recover human remains, Langar said they deserved a big pat on the back for the humongous effort they had put in to trace the remains of even 827 humans at a height of over 12000 feet in sub zero temperatures and amid all sorts of other odds like short supply of rations.
"Over the last couple of years the state government has succeeded in giving the message of a safe Uttarakhand. People have started visiting the chardham circuit in large numbers. The hue and cry being raised over the issue will only instill fear in the minds of potential visitors and deal a blow to tourism," he said.
Pradesh BJP president Ajay Bhatt had recently said that he had always been saying that there are still bodies lying in Kedarnath area but his claims were dismissed as a lie by the state government.
On the latest recovery of skeletal remains from a thickly forested trek route between Triyuginarayn and Kedarnath on Thursday, he said an operation is underway in the region to verify and ascertain the facts but nothing definitive can be said at this stage.
However, he said it was most likely that the remains found along the route were those of pilgrims killed in the disaster as the distance between the last human habitation at Toshi village in that area and the place where the remains have been spotted is at least 15 kms uphill.
"Who will go to that distance except people faced with an unprecedented crisis and running in all directions to save their lives.It is obvious that people landed unknowingly in far removed deeply forested pockets in confusion and perished," Langer said.
Also on HuffPost India.