Experts raise questions on Kedarnath reconstruction

  • Hindustan Times, Dehradun, Prithviraj Singh
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2016 12:32 IST
Kedarnath shrine in the district of Rudraprayag. (VS Kumar/HT Photo)

Questions are being raised on the reconstruction of Kedarpuri that was completely devastated in the 2013 flood disaster in Uttarakhand.

Well placed sources in the Uttarakhand disaster management department have said a technical committee, recently constituted by the department to assess the ongoing reconstruction works in the Kedarnath shrine area, has raised questions especially on the construction of ghat at the confluence of rivers Mandakini and Saraswati. The report submitted by the committee around two weeks ago says the ghat has narrowed down the stream area leading to increase in the flow of river water.

As per the report, the increased speed of water stream of Mandakini due to the construction of the ghat may prove disastrous if the violent weather conditions, flash flood and cloud burst return to the level that caused the 2013 havoc.

The report also raises question mark over the ongoing construction works in the shrine area. It says the ‘unplanned quarrying’ in the shrine area--one of the most fragile and susceptible location--may prove to be disastrous as this can change the course of river flow.

According to the department sources, around 20-25 observations have been made by the committee in connection with maintaining the topographical serenity of the Kedar Valley.

Apart from this, the five-member committee, consisting of two experts each from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology and National Institute of Hydrography, Roorkee and one from the state disaster management department, has claimed the reconstruction works have violated the order of natural topography.

Although experts who were in the committee preferred not to speak on the report, they said it was based on preliminary study along the 18-kilometre trek from Chorabari Lake to Gaurikund.

“It was a two-day study on April 20-21 in the Kedarnath area and along the Mandakini river course following which report was prepared. Certain observations have been made that cannot be discussed publicly. Besides this, observation has also been made on the three-tier wall protection system for the shrine,” said committee member Archana Sarkar from National institute of Hydrographic Roorkee.

“Report also deliberates over the on-going construction works in Kedarnath shrine area taking into account the fragility of the region. However, I cannot speak much beyond this for it has been submitted to the state government and it’s still not in the public domain,” said DP Dobhal, senior scientist from Institute of Himalayan Geology and member of the committee.

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