Uttarakhand rehabilitation to take more than a year: Official

DEHRADUN: As weeks and months drag on after the Uttarakhand catastrophe, the chief of disaster management centre reckons it will take a year or even more to pull the hill state out of the devastating effects as there is "no shortcut" to complete rehabilitation. Despite a mammoth rehabilitation exercise that is underway, latest official data showed life is still waiting to come back on track in several affected areas. A total of 10,234 families in 366 villages are yet to be rehabilitated and 335 roads including major motor roads in the worst hit Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh districts remained blocked at places making it difficult for relief material to be taken to affected people. 

It is over two months since the flash floods and landslides struck Uttarakhand on June 15 leaving a trail of death and devastation in the state but unpredictability of rainfall and unique geographical conditions of the state have made the rehabilitation exercise difficult. Given the scale of the tragedy which was of a pan-Indian nature with people from all over the country being killed and hundreds of villages swept away, it will be naive to bind the reconstruction and rehabilitation exercise in Uttarakhand in a specific time-frame, disaster mitigation and management centre(DMMC) chief Piyush Rautela told here on Wednesday. 

"There can't be any shortcut to complete rehabilitation of the people rendered homeless by the calamity. Look at the people displaced by the Tehri dam. Despite decades after the dam was built they are yet to be rehabilitated," the DMMC Executive Director said, adding the process always takes long as several factors are involved. Official figures also show that 1,967 roads are open to traffic but only on a temporary basis. 

However, the state government is hopeful that the major highways including Rishikesh-Badrinath, Rishikesh-Gangotri and Rishikesh-Yamunotri highways are opened within the stipulated deadline of September 30. 

The BRO and PWD personnel are on the job trying to restore the heavily damaged road network within the set time frame but much will depend on the frequency of rainfall which keeps hampering the operations every now and then, Rautela said. 

"Despite the best of intentions of the personnel engaged in reconstruction efforts nothing can be expected overnight. The weather is often bad and the hilly terrain in which the roads and bridges are being rebuilt don't let the operations go smoothly," he said.

News Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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