Badrinath Yatra likely to be regulated in aftermath of Joshimath disaster
Secretary, disaster management, Ranjit Kumar Sinha told HT that the local administration is keeping a close watch on the land subsidence of the highway and the road will be repaired before the upcoming yatra season
This year’s Badrinath Dham Yatra may be regulated in the wake of the land subsidence of the highway at Joshimath, officials said on Sunday.
The issue would be discussed in an upcoming high-level meeting to reduce the burden of pilgrims and vehicles on the holy town, an official privy to the matter said.
“Thousands of pilgrims stay in Joshimath town en route Badrinath and a discussion in this regard to reduce the burden of pilgrims and vehicles on the sinking town would come up during a high-level meeting,” said Ajendra Ajay, chairman, Badrinath-Kedarnath temple committee.
Also Read: Joshimath relief, dismantling work resumed after improvement in weather
Meanwhile, locals informed that the land subsidence has also affected the Badrinath highway. Cracks of one to two metres long have developed on the Badrinath National Highway in Joshimath, which is the only road that leads to Badrinath.
Secretary, disaster management, Ranjit Kumar Sinha told HT that the local administration is keeping a close watch on the land subsidence of the highway and the road will be repaired before the upcoming yatra season.
On Saturday, when asked about the damage to the highway due to land subsidence, district magistrate, Chamoli Himanshu Khurana, said as per Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), a small crack appeared on the highway due to road settlement but “it wasn’t a cause of concern.”
Meanwhile, the Helang bypass under the Char Dham all-weather project work is currently suspended amid the land subsidence incidents. Hence, the town can’t be bypassed this yatra season.
The state government on Saturday wrote to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to consult the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee if the work on the Helang-Marwari bypass project can begin again.
Also Read: Badrinath Dham covered in heavy snow | In pics
The project was halted by the district administration in the first week of January after protests by locals.
Sinha told HT, “I have written to the BRO to consult the GSI and IIT, Roorkee if the work on the Helang-Marwari bypass can restart. If the technical agencies give their go-ahead, the work will begin again. Though it won’t complete before the upcoming yatra season, it is important to keep the work going and ensure its completion on a fixed time.”
The four Himalayan pilgrimage sites- Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath– collectively called the Char Dham, are located in the mountainous terrain of the Garhwal Himalayas. Char Dham shrines remain shut for around six months every year, opening in summer (April or May) and closing with the onset of winter (October or November). Traditionally, the Char Dham pilgrimage begins from the west from Yamunotri, then proceeds to Gangotri and finally to Kedarnath and Badrinath in the east.
Badarinath is located in the Chamoli district, where the incidents of land subsidence are at the highest, along the banks of the Alaknanda river at a height of 3,133 metres is one of the holiest shrines for Hindus.
Meanwhile, the Chamoli district administration on Saturday restarted the dismantling work of two badly damaged hotels and two houses in Manohar Bagh in Joshimath after an improvement in the weather.
At least 863 buildings in the hill town developed cracks and 921 people were displaced and shifted to temporary relief camps after the holy town in Chamoli district experienced sudden sinking and several houses developed major cracks in the first week of January.