Uttarakhand floods: Bahuguna visits Kedarnath with experts

Dehradun: With the removal of huge amount of debris in Kedarnath posing the biggest challenge to the state government in calamity-hit Uttarakhand, Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna today visited the Himalayan shrine along with a team of EIPL experts to speed up the mammoth exercise.

Accompanied by chief secretary Subhash Kumar and officials of Engineers (India) Projects Limited, ASI and GSI, Bahuguna arrived at the shrine this morning to explore methods to build a helipad there to accommodate MI26 choppers commissioned to transport heavy equipment like bulldozers, JCBs and powerful stone cutting tools to Kedar valley to launch the operations, official sources here said.

 Uttarakhand floods: Bahuguna visits Kedarnath with experts

Rescue operations at Uttarakhand. AFP.

EIPL, which has a dedicated team of 500 personnel with expertise in debris removal, was roped in by the state government to clear the shrine area of tonnes of debris left over by the recent calamity in the state so that regular prayers could be started there at the earliest. The task is mammoth as a huge quantity of debris with a strong possibility of decomposing bodies lying under them has to be removed from the premises and over 40 badly damaged structures nearby have to be razed to the ground, officials here said.

ASI and GSI experts have also been roped in to provide technical advice to the EIPL team in the rubble clearing operations to prevent further damage, they said. So much depends on the mercy of the weather which has badly hampered the exercise so far with low visibility conditions induced by overcast skies often making flight of choppers impossible in Kedarghati.

The authorities have only one and half months' time left to complete the exercise as the possibility of snowfall beginning in the area from the month of September may halt the operations midway through. In circumstances like these, removal of debris from the shrine premises, razing of dilapidated structures nearby to the ground and putting all arrangements in place for regular prayers to start at the famed shrine poses the biggest challenge before the government.

If the weather continues to be adverse, transportation of heavy equipment to the shrine will be difficult delaying the debris clearing and rehabilitation work at Kedarnath.

PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 22, 2013 13:19:02 IST