Union minister for water resources department Harish Rawat on Wednesday said that the Char Dham yatra including Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamnotri would resume by the end of this month. He inaugurated Annexe building and the extension of a hostel at National Water Academy (NWA) of Central Water Commission near Khadakwasla in Pune.
Chief engineer and in-charge of NWA, S K Srivastava, CWC chairman Rajesh Kumar, director of the NWA D.S. Chaskar were present. Speaking to media, Rawat said, “Both the state and Centre are trying to resume the pilgrimage route including all the four holy places by next fortnight or latest by end of July.”
He said, “Disaster management teams are being made and all the necessary safety measures would be taken to ensure safety of the pilgrims. Henceforth registration as well as detailed documentation of the pilgrims would be maintained. It would be done on the lines of registration of Vaishno Devi pilgrimage.”
Terming the Uttarakhand calamity as 90 per cent natural and 10 per cent man-made, Rawat said, “The unprecedented high intensity rainfall coupled with melting of glacier was the basic reason for which the calamity occurred.”
“In some parts of the state there had been constructions on the riverbeds and it is happening not only in Uttarakhand but also in Mumbai, where constructions are taking place at Mithi riverbed,” the minister said, adding, the Uttarakhand calamity was a warning not only to Uttarakhand but to all the states.
River linking a national necessity: Rawat
Making it clear that Uttarakhand calamity has nothing to do with rive-linking project, Union Minister Harish Rawat on Wednesday said that ‘river-linking is a national necessity’.
Speaking to media Rawat said, “River-linking would enable the country to release water from water surplus basin to non-surplus basins in the hour of crisis.”
Elaborating on the issue, he said “The country is wasting 60 per cent of water it gets from the rain, as it is released to the seas. If we plan in a proper way then we can save 40 per cent of the rainwater going to seas in the next 25 years, which is a lot of achievement.”
He further said, “In this regard interlinking of rivers attains importance as we don’t have storage capacity and it is not easy to increase the storage capacity. In addition to this we must increase water use efficiency and use every drop of water judiciously by inculcating importance of water to every Indian.”
Rawat said that there is a need to develop sophisticated flood forecasting and early warning systems. He said, “There is also a need to develop roadmap for tackling such calamities which would involve all the stakeholders in the field of water and society.”
Modi politicised Relief Work
Blaming it on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for politicising the Uttarakhand tragedy, Rawat said, “There is no helipads in Uttarakhand, so when Modiji arrived there, it was not possible for Uttarakhand Government to allow him to a certain level. Rawat said, “Modi tried to politicise the issue. Statements by home minister Sushilkuamr Shinde and chief minister Vijay Bahuguna were distorted but it was Modi who started politics regarding the rescue and relief work at Uttarakhand.”