With the declaration of the opening of Kedarnath portals on May 4 and Badrinath portals on May 5 for the pilgrims, the dilapidated state of the yatra routes has pressed the panic button for the government. It would be challenging to put the roads back in shape and safe for the heavy traffic in such a short span of time.
Though the BRO (Border Roads Organisation), governed by the Centre, is responsible for the maintenance of the roads of the yatra route yet the state government has also pressed its PWD in service to repair the roads, considering the slow progress of BRO and time constraint.
In the mid-June calamity, the yatra routes were badly damaged or completely washed out at some places. Though some semblance of connectivity has been restored in the last 8 months, but the roads are still not safe enough to take the heavy traffic of yatra with many danger zones still haunting the administration.
The slow progress of BRO in all these months due to the paucity of funds has been pointed out by former chief minister BC Khanduri.
Mulayam Singh, executive engineer, PWD, Rudraprayag, told HT that the PWD has been deployed to repair the danger zones and level the highway from Rudraprayag to Gaurikund on Kedarnath route till BRO receives funds from the Centre.
The Badrinath route is also under the threat of landslides at many places between Helung to Hanumanchatti, he added.
The lack of coordination between the BRO and the district administration has also hit the progress of the restoration work. The latest example is the meeting called by Uttarkashi district magistrate Shridhar Babu Addanki on Monday in regarding the yatra where the BRO officials were conspicuous by their absence and the sole representative was so ill-prepared with the answers that the DM had to ask him to leave.
However, Garhwal commissioner CS Napalchayal told HT that the time is short for the massive task ahead and the need for the coordination among the BRO, district administration and PWD is all the more important.
BRO is comparatively much better equipped and all its strength is needed to accomplish the task in limited days, he said and added that he would go to Rudraprayag on Wednesday to take stock of the situation and visit Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts also.
Keeping in mind the lessons learnt from the mid-June calamity, the whole yatra would be regulated this time and the plans are being worked out to do it well, said Napalchayal.