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No construction in Kedarnath(2nd June, 2016): As per the specialists for Kedarpuri reconstruction, the ghat built on the bank of Mandakini are constricting the flow of the river, so in order to safeguard lives, the committee has recommended immediate dismantling of all the partially damaged structures near the Kedarnath kedar finaltemple and a ban on any new construction in the vicinity of the shrine.

   “No new construction should be allowed in the vicinity of the Kedarnath temple and the buildings that were damaged in 2013 should be dismantled immediately to stabilize the permeable terrain,” said Dr. Gupta. The committee surveyed and monitored the ongoing restoration work in Kedar Valley, which is being done under the supervision of Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM), on April 22 and April 23 this year, 2016.

The report, which has recently been submitted for analysis to the disaster management department, highlights that the ghat, which is located 500m from the Kedarnath temple, has a “problem” with its design and that it should have been built at a more distance from the river.

 A committee member after analyzing the problem, on the condition of anonymity, said, “There is a problem with the design of the ghat and there are no weep holes, which allow water to percolate, on the tiles laid on the stairs of the ghats. Additionally, as the river velocity has increased due to the construction of the ghat, pilgrims will be at high risk in case of flash floods leading to a sudden increase in water level in Mandakini.”

  The committee”s report has also cautioned against changing the course of the river in the future, after the members found a large quarry depression excavated near Mandakini, which suggested that plans may be afoot to alter the natural course of the river. The committee has also raised concerns over the presence of structures near the Kedarnath temple that were damaged in the June 2013 catastrophe, which resulted in the loss of mare than 5,000 lives.

These structures, which include lodges, hotels, shops etc, are now abandoned and not in use and puting “unnecessary” soil near the temple, its report said. Apart from recommending a total ban on any type of new construction near the temple, the committee has also endorsed the need to protect banks of Mandakini and Saraswati.

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