Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat to Personally Check State of Roads on Chardham Route

Home » Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat to Personally Check State of Roads on Chardham Route

Flash flood in 2013 caused untold damage to property and roads in Uttarakhand bringing the chardham yatra to a virtual halt. It goes without saying that the Char Dham yatra is a money spinner for the state government and with this in mind the Chief Minister Harish Rawat took a personal interest in overseeing repair and restoration work that was in full swing but one that received a setback with heavy rains in 2014. This year the Government is determined that there should be no difficulties for pilgrims and work is on to have the roads ready by the time the yatra season starts around the 24th of April. Just how serious the Minister is can be seen from the fact that he has personally instructed officials to speed up repair work and has announced his intention to tour each leg of the trip right up to the last point to ensure everything is in order and that roads and infrastructure are in readiness for the yatris.

Harish Rawat

Hopefully the roads will be completely repaired and the number of pilgrims should touch the expected figure of 10,00,000. In addition to having the roads repaired the Chief Minister has also announced free yatra for elderly couples aged above 65 with 50% concession for their attendant. Another positive development is that the Government plans to install mobile toilets along the route for the convenience of tourists. These mobile toilets will be supplied by DRDO, similar to the ones used by military in high altitude regions, at a cost of around Rs. 7 lakhs each. All these should serve to boost the number of pilgrims during the yatra period.

The Chief Minister impressed upon the officials to pay particular attentions to areas such as Lambagad and Sirobagad where land slides had taken place. He has asked for dedicated teams of the PWD to ensure reconstruction of roads and to ensure that landslides do not occur, especially when the yatra season is in full swing. He was emphatic about this aspect and said no laxity would be tolerated. Officials have been asked to be alert and keep visiting the site and review the repair work once in ten days in order to maintain the schedule. He stated that the construction procedures for multi-level parking lot in Gobindghat on the way to Hemkunt Sahib should be completed at the earliest. At the same time he has also given out instructions to identify land suitable for relocating families who may be affected by the road repair and reconstruction work in the Lambagad region.

In order to ensure work goes according to schedule the Chief Minister has instructed Rakesh Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary to supervise work on the Rudraprayag-Kedarnath road. Another additional secretary Arvind Hyanki will take care of the Yamunotri route while the Commissioner of Garhwal will oversee operations on the Badrinath road and IG of Garhwal will take care of the Gangotri route.

The char dham yatra, it must be remembered is an arduous pilgrimage over rough, extremely sloppy mountainous terrain. The travel from Haridwar or Rishikesh to Barkot on the first leg is relatively easy. From here pilgrims travel to Jankichatti and have to walk the rest of the way to Yamunotri. The next leg involves travel from Barkot to Uttarkashi and Harsil and then onward to Gangotri. The third leg comprises of travel from Uttarkashi to Guptashi and from there to Kedarnath, an arduous walk over craggy terrain stretching over 14 kilometers. The final leg is from Guptkashi to Badrinath. The focus of government is to ensure roads from Haridwar and Rishikesh to all the access points are in perfectly motor-able condition and the trekking paths too are cleared of fallen debris and are widened to accommodate the rush. The young may find it easy to navigate difficult stretches but since yatris are usually in the older age group, roads must be easy to walk on or drive over smoothly without undue delays or hardships. The Chief Minister’s efforts in this direction are commendable and he has also asked for Centre Aid to expedite the process.  Will the roads be ready by 24th April? If the seriousness with which work is proceeding is any indicator, the answer is yes

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