150 NTPC Workers Missing After Himalayan Glacier Triggers Flood
Rescue operation underway at the tunnel near Tapovan dam in Chamoli to rescue trapped people. (Image courtesy: Indian Army)

150 NTPC Workers Missing After Himalayan Glacier Triggers Flood

About 150 workers at NTPC Ltd.’s hydropower plant are feared trapped or swept away after a flash flood that destroyed key infrastructure when a Himalayan river burst its banks.

The Rishiganga hydropower project near Raini village in Uttarakhand state was damaged, as was NTPC’s under-construction project on river Dhauli Ganga near Tapovan, said Vivek Pandey, spokesman for the Indo-Tibetan Police Force that’s aiding the rescue. India’s army is at the site and the air force is on standby.

Three bodies were recovered near the NTPC Tapovan project, according to Pandey. Authorities attribute the devastation to an avalanche triggered by a glacier breach at about 11 a.m. local time Sunday. People living on the bank of the Alaknanda river have been asked to immediately evacuate.

“The most disturbing thing is that this not flood season and there was no warning to those downstream,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People. He said his group, an informal network of experts working on water-related infrastructure projects, is still awaiting clarity about what exactly happened.

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