Channelisation and flood protection works shall be done in the first phase of reconstruction

Chief Minister Harish Rawat, on Saturday, said that the first and second phases of reconstruction work shall begin in the Kedarnath Valley in the coming week. Suggesting that the State government would want to make the Char Dham yatra a year-long yatra, Mr. Rawat said that the priest community of the four shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri shall be consulted to change the yatra from six months to the one that continues throughout the year.

Mr. Rawat visited Kedarnath on Friday. On Saturday he addressed the media to present the reconstruction measures that would be taken in Kedarnath Valley. “The Mandakini and the Saraswati rivers that have changed course after the June 2013 deluge, shall be channelised to their original course,” he said adding that the Nehru Institute Of Mountaineering (NIM) and the State Irrigation Department would be the agencies responsible for the channelisation of the rivers.

Channelisation and flood protection works shall be done in the first phase of reconstruction . The Public Works Department and the Irrigation Department shall be the agencies responsible for the flood protection works, he said. Mr. Rawat said, “Two protection walls – an outer wall and an inner wall – shall be built near the Kedarnath shrine. While the outer wall will protect the temple from any floods from the side of the Chorabari glacier, the inner wall will be constructed near the Divya Shila (divine rock), which is a large boulder placed a few metres from the shrine.”

The work on the two protection walls will begin in the coming week, he said. The fully destroyed buildings in the Kedarnath shrine premises shall be demolished and compensated for. The Geological Survey of India (GSI) did a survey of the Kedarnath area, the report of which has been submitted to the State government. However, Mr. Rawat said that the GSI shall be asked to conduct two more surveys in the area – one before the monsoon season and the other after it – based on which the work on the temple premises would be done.

Rambara and Bheembali in the Kedarnath Valley suffered destruction when the Mandakini waters gushed through the Kedarnath Valley last year. Mr. Rawat said that markets would be developed at Talli Linchouli and Malli Linchouli as substitutes for Rambara and Bheembali. This would be covered under the second phase of reconstruction in the valley, he said.

He suggested that projects like ropeway, electric cars, alternative routes, and betterment of 24 kilometre bridle path to Kedarnath, were being worked on. Mr. Rawat said, “Around Rs. 4,000 crore would be required to complete the rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the disaster-affected areas.” He said he would take the proposal to the Centre for the new government to release the required amount. Though the UPA-II government had approved a three-year package of Rs. 8,000 crore for rehabilitation and reconstruction, a fresh estimate revealed an additional requirement of Rs 4,000 crore, he said.