The state government has built about 434 roads in various parts of the state. The state Public Works Department is also working on improving national highways that lead to key pilgrim centres of the state, while the government has repaired bridges in various disaster-hit valleys. Last year’s floods had washed away 45 bridges and damaged 25 bridges in Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Uttarkashi districts. “The government has repaired all the 25 bridges and sanctioned money for the bridges that were washed away,” said a source in the government. The government has also installed ropeway trolleys at 17 places.
When the disaster struck last year, the government was at a loss for information on the pilgrims. But this year, the government has introduced biometric registration for pilgrims who do the Chardham yatra.
A Chardham yatra control room has been set up at the headquarters of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board in Dehradun. The government has raised a battalion of the State Disaster Response Force. Besides, it has identified locations for the construction of 60 helipads across the state.
However, the government is still to undertake its most prickly task: bringing down constructions near the Kedarnath shrine, as recommended by the GSI and ASI. These are properties owned by the influential Kedar Tritha-Purohit Samaj, an association of the temple priests, and the government doesn’t want to take them on. So for now, it has decided to build ‘protection walls’ near the temple.