The Uttarakhand government will hand over the reconstruction work of calamity-ravaged Kedarpuri, the area surrounding Kedarnath shrine to the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering to develop a new township, an official said on Wednesday.
The state government will handover the site, that was devastated in the 2013 flash flood, at a function presided over by chief minister Harish Rawat at Kedarnath on Thursday, said chief secretary Rakesh Sharma.
“Work for reconstructing old Kedarpuri will begin after the site is formally handed over to the NIM (Nehru Institute of Mountaineering), the agency that will carry out the reconstruction,” he said.
“Issues have been sorted out with all stakeholders. The reconstructed Kedarpuri will be a spacious suburb with a 50ft path between the shrine and the bridge at the confluence of the two rivers—the Mandakani and the Saraswati.”
He further said that funds will not be a problem for the reconstruction of the town as central government has assured `1,200 crore additional funds apart from the financial support from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
Earlier in July this year, the state government had drafted a master plan for redeveloping Kedarpuri to ensure that natural calamities do not affect the pilgrimage site in the future.
The first phase of the redevelopment will be completed by December 2015 and will comprise the 50-ft wide approach path connecting the shrine with the 300m bailey bridge on the Saraswati River.
According to officials of the state disaster management department, the state government gave its go-ahead for the rebuilt after it negotiated the compensation and resettlement packages with stakeholders, including the Teerth Purohit families — who own the land on which lodges and dharamshalas around the shrine – to implement the master plan.
The old Kedarpur town is encircled by the Mandakani and the Saraswati rivers from three sides and Chorabari glacier rising at the back of the shrine.
An area measuring 90 m in length and 20 m in breadth between Kedarnath and the bridge over the Mandakini River would be kept free of all construction so that the historic eighth century shrine is visible from a distance without any obstruction.
The new Kedapuri town will have more than 100 prefabricated guest houses, two helipads and other infrastructural facilities for pilgrims, about 1.5km from the shrine.