The 77 people who went missing in the flash flood in Sikkim have been presumed dead as they could not be found even after two months of the disaster, Chief Secretary VB Pathak said on Saturday.
To help their families get various kinds of benefits, including ex-gratia, it has been decided to follow the procedure adopted during natural disasters in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and settle the matter, he told reporters.
A total of 77 people went missing in the flash flood that struck the state on October 4.
Two bodies were later found, but their identities could not be ascertained, he said. The state government is providing ex-gratia assistance of Rs 4 lakh, while Rs 2 lakh is being provided from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.
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"We have decided to adopt the procedures followed in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to settle the matter of missing persons," Pathak said. The families will be able to avail of the benefits only after the issuance of the death certificates, he said.
"We expect to settle all missing persons' cases by January," he added. The families will first need to file a missing complaint at the police station, and then it will be thoroughly examined at different levels before being published in newspapers, social media and government gazette as per process, Pathak said.
In case, a person from outside Sikkim went missing, the family has to lodge a complaint with the police in their state, which will then be transferred here for examination, he said.
The flash flood in the Teesta River basin wreaked havoc in the state on October 4, killing at least 46 people, besides the 77 missing persons.
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