Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Saturday announced an elaborate reconstruction and rehabilitation programme for Kedarnath shrine and surrounding areas including erecting protective walls around the famed temple.
The reconstruction plan will be carried out in two phases, the Chief Minister told reporters on his return from a visit to the Himalayan shrine and areas close to it which bore the brunt of last year’s natural calamity in Uttarakhand.
“We can’t wait any longer. Our objective is to protect the shrine from any perceived threat of floods,” Rawat said. An inner wall and an outer wall will be erected around the shrine to guard it against any natural calamity and the work will begin in the next 4-5 days, he said.
Besides this, the plan also includes channeling Mandakini and Saraswati rivers immediately and rebuilding a new township at Linchauli, located at a distance of 4-5 km from the Himalayan shrine.
The PWD and irrigation departments have been assigned the task of channeling the rivers, he said.
The Chief Minister said he has also initiated talks with stakeholders to explore whether the annual char dham yatra can be conducted throughout the year considering its potential to boost tourism.
The proposal was pending since N D Tiwari’s tenure as chief minister, he said.
However, he clarified that he had no intentions to break with the centuries old traditions in this regard and any progress will be made only with the consent of all stakeholders.
BJP leaders Prabhat Jha, Shahnawaz Hussain and Krishnapal Gujar also addressed a number of rallies.