Twelve men walked into an underground tunnel at Tapovan in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on the morning of February 7. Three hours later, pandemonium broke loose when they heard the whoosh of rushing waters. Soon, the tunnel entrance was flooded and they were trapped around 350 metres from the entrance. Hanging on to iron rods on the tunnel walls or clinging to the top of an excavator, the men watched as the water level climbed. As hours passed, they started shivering in the cold and hummed songs to keep their spirits up—romantic ones, classics, and, as hope began dulling, tragic ones.
Seven hours later they were rescued by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) after one of them found network in his phone. Others were not as lucky. At least 62 people lost their lives in the Uttarakhand flash floods, believed by many to have been caused by a landslide. Many scientists agree that climate change played a significant role in the floods. “High mountain rocks are often heavily fractured,” says senior climatologist Kailash Pandey. “These fractures are filled with ice, which glues the rock mass. Global warming is causing this ice to deteriorate, which is weakening the rock mass leading to these big slope collapses.” According to him, in the last 60 years, Uttarakhand has witnessed an increase of 0.6 degree Celsius.
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SAFFRON ON RED
Can left veteran Ashok Bhattacharya overcome the BJP’s surge in Siliguri?
There is a pattern to the attack on Central forces in Bengal
Sunil Arora, who demitted office on April 12, chose THE WEEK for his last interview as chief election commissioner. He said he was anguished over the constant attacks the commission faced, especially from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal. He also said that the attacks on Central forces in West Bengal was worrying and had a pattern.
INDIA ON GUARD
THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 CAUGHT US LACKING AND SLACKING. REINING IN A RESURGENT VIRUS WOULD NEED BETTER ADHERENCE TO SAFETY PROTOCOLS AND A MORE NUANCED APPROACH TO VACCINATION
No value in vaccinating everyone at this stage
The second wave hit India despite the vaccine rollout. And, vaccinated people are now getting infected. The vaccine was never expected to stop any wave, second or otherwise. All the Covid-19 vaccines available in the world right now have this handicap, that they cannot stop transmission of the virus. This is unlike the vaccines for polio or smallpox, which can interrupt transmission and thereby eradicate the disease eventually.
Fit for the future
DRDO labs are being closed or merged to prevent duplication and to focus on futuristic technologies
BRINGING MANHAS HOME
THE WEEK brings you the inside story of how a nonagenarian social worker, a tribal leader and a group of local journalists secured the safe release of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas, a CoBRA commando captured by the Maoists of Bastar
Fighting our people
CoBRA is burdened by law, which demands that it upholds the Constitutional and human rights of civilians. Naxals have no such burden
With K.T. Jaleel forced to step down as minister, the Pinarayi Vijayan government suffers a big blow at the fag end of its term
Due procedure followed in case against activists
THE 2020 DELHI riots, which claimed 53 lives, the farmers’ protest at the Red Fort and the arrest of activist Disha Ravi on sedition charges have all taken place during S.N. Shrivastava’s tenure as commissioner of Delhi Police. He spoke to THE WEEK about the status of investigations in these cases, monitoring social media and terror threats to the capital. Excerpts:
Picking up the pace of vaccinations is not only a health and welfare concern, but also key for India’s economic prospects
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Shooting the 6.5 RPM Cartridge
Howa 1500 H-S Precision Rifle
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