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No imminent threat from landslide to Gangotri: Expert

dehradun Updated: Dec 14, 2017 20:40 IST
Anupam Trivedi
Anupam Trivedi
Hindustan Times

An aerial view of the Gangotri glacier. (Picture courtesy: DMMC)

DEHRADUN: Experts claimed on Thursday that there was no imminent threat from a landslide that had occurred near the snout of the Gangotri glacier in Uttarkashi district.

After carrying out an aerial survey on Thursday, a three-member team said the flow of the Bhagirathi river that originates from the glacier was normal. It ruled out the presence of any artificial lake. “There is no imminent danger from the landslide that had occurred during the rainy season near the snout of the Gangotri glacier. At present, there exists no lake along the course of the river,” Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre (DMMC) executive director Piyoosh Rautela wrote in an interim report.

On Wednesday, the Uttarakhand high court directed the government to ensure that an artificial lake is cleared from the snout of the glacier. The court’s directive came on a PIL which stated a glacier has formed near the point of Gaumukh that could cause a Kedarnath-type devastation. The same day a team from Uttarakashi moved towards the glacier but couldn’t go beyond the Gangotri temple due to heavy snow.

The expert team of Rautela from DMMC, Vikram Gupta from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) and DS Kachhawaha from the irrigation department was formed on December 11, after the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau submitted its report about a massive landslide along the course of Bhagirathi River near the snout of the glacier. The report suggested about the possibility of blockade of river and the formation of lake in near future.

Gupta said landslides and artificial lakes in the Himalayan region were common. “However, at times formation of an artificial lake can be critical depending on size and the amount of water it carries. Though in this particular case, we didn’t notice any lake,” Gupta told HT.

As per the expert report, satellite images showed the occurrence of massive landslide on the left flank of the Bhagirathi near the snout of the glacier. Debris generated by the landslide shifted the course of the river towards the right flank, it said. “During the survey, the rock formation was not clearly visible as the area was fully covered with fresh snow,” the report said. The experts could not land at the glacier due to heavy winds. They have suggested carrying out a follow up survey in March–April when snow melts.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 20:40 IST