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‘Human activities increasing risk of calamities in Kedarnath’

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 04, 2013

Of what remains: File photo of buildings damaged in the floods at Kedarnath.   -  PTI

Increasing human activities are augmenting the risk of natural disasters in the ecologically sensitive region of Kedarnath which was washed away by floods triggered by a cloudburst in June, a latest study claims.

A team of scientists from the prestigious Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology has warned that rise in human activities around the area like pilgrimage and tourism would increase the risk of such disasters occurring in future.

Kedarnath is encircled by channels of Mandakini and Saraswati rivers which meet near the town.

The study led by scientist D. P. Dobhal, well-known for his work on Himalayan glaciers, says overcrowding of people and constructions have obstructed the natural flow of Saraswati river which now flows just behind Kedarnath town.

Similarly on downstream near Rambara and Gaurikund, houses were constructed on loose soil making them prone to natural disasters and landslides, it said.

Dobhal, who has been named in the Time magazine list of ‘Heroes of Himalayas’ in 2007, said heavy rains on June 16 evening flooded the catchment area of Saraswati and Dudh Ganga resulting in overflowing of channels which triggered erosion and subsequent silting up in the rivers.

This resulted in huge volumes of water along with loose soil and debris from glacial moraines forming a slush which moved with unprecedented energy towards Kedarnath town and washed off its upper parts where Sankaracharya samadhi, Jal Nigam guest house and Bharat Seva Sangh Ashram are located.

“While reconstruction efforts are going on in the region, Government must ensure that construction should take place away from the temple at a safe location. Strict environment guidelines should be followed and a database of pilgrims climbing towards temple should be maintained to avoid such incidents ,” Dobhal told

Published on August 04, 2013
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