Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde recently announced that the government may send JCB machines to Kedar valley for digging out bodies. Geologists,however,cautioned that the use of JCB machines,without working out a comprehensive plan for disposal of debris deposited by the river,may lead to a disaster.
We have sent a team of 200 persons to do the ground work. JCB machines would be sent in the second phase, said Amit Negi,an officer associated with the states disaster control centre.
Geologists said that the government must not take a hasty decision,as the Kedar valley is one of the most fragile zones in the Himalayas. This region was created due to the retreat of glaciers; so,theres loose material underneath the surface, said Dr Anil Kulkarni of the Indian Institute of Science. Though he was not averse to the idea of using JCB machines to dig out bodies,he said this should be done only after working out a suitable plan for disposal of debris deposited by river Mandakini. He said that accumulated debris could trigger landslides. Deepak Srivastava,former deputy director general of Geological Survey of India,doubted if JCB machines could run on the surface of valley,as theres debris underneath.
D P Dobhal,scientist at Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology,said,Proper disposal of debris and silts should be given top priority.