Col Ajay Kothiyal, principal, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering
Q) It’s being alleged that NIM has been assigned technical and highly specialised tasks despite its lack of expertise in it.
A) We were asked to work on reconstruction of the Kedarnath shrine area after state agencies gave up because of the hardships involved. We did it out of our zeal to serve the state, people and pilgrims. As to expertise, we have a team of best engineering hands from IIT Roorkee who too are working with the same sense of service towards the people.
Q) The new 12-km pedestrian route constructed by NIM between Rambara and Kedarnath is under a cloud and there is persistent demand for a new and safer pilgrimage route.
A) This was the best possible route that anyone could have constructed given the constraints of time. We had just two months to construct the route in time for the pilgrim season. Out team tried and reduced the steepness of the route to a considerable level. Nevertheless, improvisation of the track will be a regular process and it will be made safer and secure for pilgrims.
Q) How long will it take to complete reconstruction work in Kedarnath?
A) It will not be less than two years minimum. Work will speed up after a new helipad at Kedarnath is ready as this will be help towing in more heavy machines to speed up our work.
Q) What about the reconstruction of Kedarnath township. Why nothing has happened there?
A) We have to clear the massive debris first before starting work there. However, this has to be decided by the state government. Although the GSI has recommended relocation of Kedarpuri elsewhere but the state government will have the final say. We are ready to start debris clearing works as and when asked for.