Chief minister Harish Rawat on Thursday laid the foundation stone of reconstruction projects worth nearly Rs 115 crore in Kedarnath and said his government was planning to develop the areas adjoining Kedarnath as a “paradise of tourism”.
The CM reached the shrine in the morning and inspected the reconstruction work which started after the state witnessed large-scale devastation in 2013 flash floods.
Disclosing his plans to organise a festival in Kedarnath in January next year aimed at luring more and more people to areas adjoining it, Rawat said, “We want to develop the area as the paradise of winter tourism and will do whatever is needed for this.”
According to the official note, pilgrims visiting the shrine will now have an option to stay in the modern cottages. The roads within the shrine town have also been constructed to facilitate the pilgrims. A trekking route from Guptkashi till Kedarnath for pilgrims and a trek for mules is already in place.
The CM asked officials to strengthen the Wi-Fi network and communication system for the visitors.
Projects worth over Rs 23 crore including a helipad for MI 26 choppers were inaugurated whereas foundation stones of projects worth over Rs 91 crore were laid by the chief minister.
Foundation stones were laid for 113 houses to be built by Nehru Institute of Mountaineering to rehabilitate teerth-purohits and other land owners who volunteered to give their land for reconstruction purposes near Kedarnath. The CM praised the NIM engaged in reconstruction work in the area despite precarious weather conditions in high altitudes.
Rawat said the state government was working on a three-tiered safety plan for the shrine. These include channelisation of rivers flowing behind it, raising security walls in Kedarpuri, securing the temple from inundation and strengthening the communication system in the entire region.
(With PTI inputs)