Credit war over Kedarnath works intensifies, Congress dares BJP to come up with white paper

Congress claims most of the works for which Prime Minister Narendra laid foundation stone were started during its regime and were nearing completion

dehradun Updated: Oct 24, 2017 15:43 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times
Kedarnath,Prime Minister Narendra Modi,Harish Rawat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kedarnath shrine on October 20.(Rajeev Kala/ HT Photo)

The Opposition Congress Tuesday dared the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand to come out with a white paper on the reconstruction works carried out so far at the Kedarnath shrine.

This comes four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced slew of reconstruction works at Kedarpuri and BJP sought to take credit for the development work carried out at the shrine, one of the four that along with Gangotri, Yamunotri and Badrinath makes up the Chardham.

The Opposition claims most of the works were started during the previous Congress regime in the hill state.

“The work on retaining wall at Kedarnath shrine had been going on since 2015. Similarly the new treks were developed during our tenure,” said senior Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana.

He asked why not BJP come out with a white paper. “It will clear the picture.”

During his visit to the Kedarnath shrine last week Modi laid stone for five reconstruction works, including retaining wall and ghat on the banks of Mandakini and Saraswati Rivers; construction of main approach road to Kedarnath temple; development of Shankaracharya Kutir and Shankaracharya Museum and development of houses for Kedarnath purohits.

Congress claims most of these works nearing completion. Former chief minister Harish Rawat, who took reins of the state in early 2014 just about a year after flash floods in 2013 that killed over 5,000 people in the Kedar valley, also trained guns on PM Modi.

In a Facebook post Monday, the he termed PM as “fasakiya” – a word loosely used in Kumaoni language for a habitual liar.

Ajay Bhatt, the state president of BJP, brushes aside the allegations that that Modi and BJP were taking credit for the Congress works. He also saw no logic behind demand of a white paper.

“Congress leaders do not understand that they were thrown out of power because of the failed governance they gave,” Bhatt said.

Amid hullaballoo over the Kedarnath reconstruction works, it remains a fact that the 2013 flash floods not only ravaged Kedarnath valley but also destroyed the entire Ganga basin. Besides the Saryu and Kali river valley in the Kumaon region were also affected. Nonetheless, majority of the lives lost were of the pilgrims who had come to visit the shrine in June 2013 and therefore Kedarnath remained in the focus.

Ratan Aswal, a social activist who recently led a group of hikers to Uttarkashi in a bid to promote “virgin” tourist spots, claims the rate of people migrating from interiors has spiked owing to the “government’s negligence”.

“Why alone Kedarnath shrine, the government should come out with a white paper on the status of reconstruction works in entire state. People are managing with no bridges, broken roads etc as the system (government) is hardly bothered,” Aswal alleged.

As per the official figures, in the Pindar valley in Chamoli district, 157 houses were completely washed away, and more than 400 houses partially damaged. Some 40 bridges were also swept away in the gushing waters of Pindar valley. Similarly in Uttarkashi valley the pace of reconstruction works is very slow. Many villages are managing with manual ropeways to cross rivers and streams.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 15:43 IST