Scientist flags Kedarnath project worries
A senior scientist MPS Bisht from Uttarakhand has raised concerns about whether geological aspects of the Kedarnath reconstruction project have been taken into account as it nears completion. Bisht, the director of Uttarakhand Space Application Centre, expressed concerns about the heavy construction work of the project in the ecologically sensitive and fragile zone in the presence of Professor K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific advisor (PSA) to the government.
Prof Raghavan has invited Bisht to Delhi to share the details of his concerns with other experts and officials at the Prime Minister’s Office by the end of this month. “The facts put forth by MPS Bisht about Kedarnath are an eye-opener. I have asked him to come to Delhi for a discussion on this in a bid to avoid any possible danger,” said Prof Raghavan.
“Around 4.5 metre tall by 1.5 metres wide wall is being built behind the Kedarnath shrine for its protection. But, if debris falls from the glaciers, can the wall contain it? Just behind the wall on the upstream, there is a huge moraine [a mass of rocks and sediment carried down and deposited by a glacier] which is approximately 160 metres high. Is the wall strong enough to withstand the impact of the debris falling from such a height?” Bisht asked.
“Consider this: if there is 160 metres of morainic hump behind the 4.5 metres wall, what purpose will it serve?” he questioned.
Bisht rang alarm bells about “the geological precautions that have been taken before building the wall. If such huge concrete structures are being made, then the terrain characteristics definitely need to be considered. It is not known whether such aspects have been kept in mind before starting the construction work.”
Questions have been raised about the samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya being made in Kedarnath, for which a 100 metres wide and 15 metres deep pit is being dug along with construction of an over 20- kilometre-long road.
The Uttarakhand government declared 2,845 dead in June 2013 flash floods in Kedarnath and adjoining areas. A sudden melting of ice in the frozen Chorabari lake, about two kms upstream of Kedarnath, and construction work were cited to be the primary reasons behind the tragedy.