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Satellite imagery REVEALS Uttarakhand's real story

Last updated on: June 28, 2013 09:38 IST

Satellite imagery REVEALS Uttarakhand's real story

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Vicky Nanjappa

Satellite imagery from the Indian Space Research Organisation shows that heavy and unplanned construction work in Uttarakhand was a leading cause for the devastation which claimed thousands of lives in the hill state. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

ISRO, which has been looking at the devastation and analysing it based on its satellite imagery says that there is a reason why it is being called a man-made tragedy. First and foremost, there are several hydel projects that are coming up.

These projects would come up on the tributaries of Ganga-Alaknanda and Mandakini which meet at Rudraprayag which has seen a lot of devastation. It shows that tunnels are being built to divert these rivers.

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Photographs: Courtesy: ISRO

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Satellite imagery REVEALS Uttarakhand's real story

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ISRO's analysis would also show that several hundred new buildings have also caused the problem. There were a few hutments two decades ago. However, today there are 100-odd buildings which have blocked the flow of water in Kedarnath, an official with ISRO told rediff.com.

There was no proper channel for the water to flow and this led to the major flooding and thus, the Kedar dome broke.

It has also been observed that the boom in the tourism industry also led to major constructions in the area. There was a time when no tourist was allowed to stay overnight in Kedarnath.

However, the major boost in the number of tourists led to the construction of new buildings to accommodate them. These were unplanned constructions which ultimately ended up blocking the water flow in the area, thus leading to the calamity.

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Photographs: Courtesy: ISRO

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Satellite imagery REVEALS Uttarakhand's real story

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The imagery shows the disturbances in the Kedar Valley. A new stream which cuts across the green patch is one of the major problems which brought down debris into the Mandakini river, thus causing the destruction.

Images prior to the flood show that there was some snow in the upper areas of the Himalayas. The image after the flood shows that the area under the snow increased and this indicates that there would have been heavy rainfall in the Kedar Valley which would led to flooding.

The ISRO says that they are observing the images and studying the issue.

"There are some more images which would come to us in the next few days and in a week's time a more detailed analysis would be provided," an ISRO official said.


Photographs: Courtesy: ISRO

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