Choppers carrying relief materials could not fly to Kedarnath

Bad weather continued to hit relief work in Uttarakhand on Tuesday. The Meteorological Centre here has issued a warning that heavy rainfall (70 to 100 mm) may occur at one or two places in Dehradun, Haridwar, Pauri, Udham Singh Nagar, Nainital and Champawat districts on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, choppers for delivering equipment to Kedarnath in Rudraprayag district were held up at Gauchar in Chamoli district. Dilip Jawalkar, District Magistrate, Rudraprayag, said, “I have been told that the choppers did not fly to Kedarnath even today due to bad weather.”

Mr. Jawalkar told The Hindu that at present all operations in Kedarnath were being carried out via trekable roads. In Uttarkashi too helicopters could not supply relief material on Tuesday owing to the bad weather.

Even 44 days after the disaster hit many areas in the State, relief material, including ration could not be delivered in many villages in the State.

In Uttarkashi, many villages are still cut off due to blocked roads. B. K. Mishra, Additional District Magistrate (ADM), Uttarkashi, said, “road connectivity has been restored in 77 villages out of the 135 villages that were cut off [due to the mid-June tragedy]. Wherever possible, relief material is being sent by mules.”

In Mando village in Uttarkashi district, on one side is the Bhagirathi river and on the other side are hills that are constantly sliding.

Around 30 houses in Mando are still inhabited by the villagers even though they are in danger of getting filled by the debris from the mountain, where continuous landslips are taking place.

Vasudev Bhatt, Gram Pradhan, Mando village, said though the administration surveyed the area around 15 days ago, no action has been taken yet.

Mr. Bhatt said the administration has not been able to deliver the relief material in these areas.

“The entire village is in danger; we need to shift to safer places,” he said.

“Around 37 families in Mando have not received relief material yet even though there are trekable bridges and roads that can be used by the administration to deliver the material,” Mr. Bhatt added.

Though the State government gave Rs. 8,000 to each family in the village to rent houses in safer places, the villagers are still residing in their houses because the safer places near the village are already full and the areas that are available are expensive and cannot be rented for a long period in the given amount.

In Bandarkot village in Uttarkashi district the houses have developed cracks. Udai Singh Panwar, Patwari of the area said, “Families are constantly shifting to safer places as many houses in Bandarkot are in danger of getting completely damaged.”

Mr. Panwar said tents were being provided to the villagers whose houses were in danger. Some villagers have shifted to the Panchayat Bhawan and few others have shifted to other safer places.

S. A. Murugesan, District Magistrate, Chamoli, said that landslips were continuously taking place in many areas in the district leaving the villagers in danger.

Mr. Murugesan said around 40 families in Tharali in Chamoli district were affected by landslips in the area on Sunday.

“It has been more than a month since the people are living in relief camps.”