Flood-proof Kedarnath blueprint ready

| | New Delhi
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Flood-proof Kedarnath blueprint ready

Sunday, 29 October 2017 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi

Flood-proof Kedarnath blueprint ready

To prevent a repeat of the large-scale destruction caused by the massive floods in 2013, Kedarpuri, housing the famed Kedarnath Temple, will have a U-shaped three-tier protective walls with boulders all along it.

The three-layered protection, comprising the Gabion Wall, Rock Net Wall and the Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) wall, will be strong enough to withstand the fury of any future flash floods. Also, the entire built-up zone will be at a higher elevation away from the Saraswati and the Mandakini rivers.

The blueprint for the redevelopment of Kedarpuri has been prepared keeping in mind floods and environment. A two square kilometre area surrounding the Kedarnath Temple will be redeveloped.

Kedarnath temple is located in the Himalayas, about 11,000 feet above sea level in the Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand and is one of the Char Dhams and one of the holiest shrines in the country. On an average, over six lakh pilgrims pay obeisance to the deity every year.

As per the plan, ghats would be constructed both to redefine the flow of the rivers to prevent further soil erosion as also to enable devotees to perform puja. The platforms, ghats and the protective walls will have locally exposed cut-stone masonry reinforced with concrete and the housing units in the zone will be earthquake resistant.

The area around the temple will be delineated as “forever open, clear and free” space to conserve the temple’s sanctity. In other words, the route to the temple would be kept open. According to plan, no construction will be made within the radius of 50 metres of Kedarnath temple. The approach road connecting to the temple will be 50-metre wide as against seven metre earlier.

All new constructions in Kedarpuri will be aligned in the north-south directions with the flow of rivers to reduce the obstruction of water flow. The approach road connecting to the river will be made people-friendly by the creation of ghats and terraces along the riverside. Two watching towers will also be constructed to keep an eye on the changing weather conditions at the Chorabari area. As per the plan, several caves are also proposed to be built.

According to an executive member of Kedarnath Temple Committee, the total cost of redevelopment project is expected to be around Rs 1,500 crore. The project will be completed in five years. The State Government has set up a three-member committee headed by Secretary (Tourism) to look into the progress of the redevelopment of Kedarpuri.

The blueprint also proposes a bridge over river Mandakini, a high tech meditation centre, temple plaza, a public plaza with kiosks and a Smriti Udyan around the Kedarnath temple.

The housing unit would also be designed in an eco-friendly manner as a shared space having around 8 to 12 rooms in one unit. Each housing unit would be a low-rise structure having just two floors. The necessary tie beams and seismic bands at plinth level, door-window lintel level, eave level of sloping roof etc would be provided and roof would be sloping/pitched to get rid of snow easily.

The Uttarakhand Government has recently roped in corporate houses to take responsibility to redevelop and reconstruct Kedarpuri under Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) programme. Recently, a corporate house has signed an agreement to redevelop the area surroundings of Kedarnath temple that include reconstruction of Adi Shankaracharya Kutir on the ghat of river Saraswati. The Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi was washed away in the floods in 2013. The Samadhi was located behind the Kedarnath temple. The proposed Kutir would have a double roof. The Kutir would have space to perform hawan and puja.

A museum would also be built near the temple. This museum would be designed in local dressed stone and wood with local construction technology. A temple plaza would also be built.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on October 20 laid the foundation stone of five infrastructure and development projects worth Rs 750 crore. These include the development of retaining wall and ghat on the Mandakini river; development of retaining wall and ghat on Saraswati river; construction of the main approach to Kedarnath Temple; development of Shankaracharya Kutir and Shankaracharya Museum; and development of houses for Kedarnath purohits.

The Prime Minister said that the BJP was trying to develop the Himalayan shrine into an ideal pilgrim centre with quality infrastructure. But not before hitting out at the Congress for rebuffing his offer to redevelop Kedaranth and his Rs 3-crore cheque. Incidentally, then Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna is in the BJP now. Modi said after the BJP Government came to power in Uttarakhand earlier this year, “I understood that the work for Kedarnath’s redevelopment will be done by us”.

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