For this UP official, Uttarakhand deaths a laughing matter

Thousands of people from across the country may have perished in the worst-ever tragedy in Uttarakhand and hundreds others may still be missing, yet for the officials in Uttar Pradesh the deaths are nothing but a “laughing matter”.

A senior UP official on Thursday laughed and almost ridiculed the people dead in the flood when asked about the number of people from the state, who had been killed in the hill state in the flash floods.

Special secretary, revenue Srinivasan, who is also looking after the efforts by the state government to bring the stranded people of the state in Uttarakhand, said that he did not have the figure of the dead from the state.

“Zinda logon ka pata hi nahin hai. Marne walon ka kahan se hoga (we do not know the number of people alive...how can we have the figure of the dead),” Srinavasan remarked as he laughed at the question. The official's remarks shocked not only the scribes but also the others present there. According to the sources the government may take action against Srinivasan. “His remark was certainly in bad taste,” said another senior state official.

Earlier, the UP government came under attack from the families of the affected people as well as the political parties for what they alleged was delayed response of the state government in providing succour to the people of the state who were trapped in Uttarakhand.

The state government had set up the helpline five days after the tragedy struck Uttarakhand. He said that the government wasted a few more days in taking a decision to send a team of doctors to Uttarakhand. UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that the government would provide all possible help to the stranded pilgrims from UP in Uttarakhand. But given the magnitude of the devastation, it appears that the kin may have to wait for some more time before they may get any information about their relatives.

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