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Kedarnath all set to get a makeover

June 02, 2014 13:03 IST

Kedarnath all set to get a makeover

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Shishir Prashant

The restoration work of the Kedarnath shrine, which was destroyed in last year’s floods, will be done by the Archaeological Survey of India. Shishir Prashant reports.

Kedarnath, the epicentre of last year’s devastating flash floods, is all set to get a facelift with Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat coming out with a comprehensive plan.

The government is also mulling a year-round Char Dham yatra instead of the seasonal six-month, which is a hallmark of the chief minister’s plan announced on Saturday.

The government has devised a two-pronged strategy to restore the Kedarnath area to its pristine glory. In the first phase, the government would construct protection walls behind the 800-year old Lord Shiva temple, re-channelising Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, and take flood control measures at Kedarnath area. The restoration work on the Kedarnath shrine will be done by the Archaeological Survey of India.

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Image: Devotees flock to the Kedarnath temple after it was reopened recently
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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Shishir Prashant

In the second phase, the government would develop a new township at Lyncholi near Kedarnath and also a ropeway from Lyncholi to Kedarnath. All those buildings which have been declared unsafe at Kedarpuri, the area around the temple, will be demolished. The work for the slopes stabilisation will also begin. Electric cars would to transport pilgrims from ropeway to the shrine.

“In the next four or five days, our reconstruction and rehabilitation plan for Kedarnath will begin for which we have finalised a roadmap,” said Rawat after visiting the Kedarnath shrine.

The government has decided to rope in experts of the Uttarkashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and the state irrigation department to re-channelise Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, as the both currently flow together near the shrine.

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Image: Devotees at the temple's entrance at the reopening.
Photographs: Sandeep Pal

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Shishir Prashant

For this massive reconstruction and rehabilitation plan, the state government would seek an additional Rs 4,000 crore from the Centre. This will be in addition to the Rs 7,500 crore package announced by the previous UPA government.

The chief minister said the Geological Survey of India has been asked to make a fresh survey of the old Kedarpuri area which suffered the brunt of the June flash-floods.

“We want to take an idea whether this Kedarpuri can be revived,” said Rawat.  A new township is being built at Lyncholi area near Kedarnath for the rehabilitation of priests, shopkeepers and businessmen who were affected by the floods. The forest department has been asked to prepare an alternate trek route from Gaurikund to Kedarnath also.

 


Image: The Kedarnath temple amid damaged surroundings by flood waters.
Photographs: Reuters

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