Rehabilitation, restoration needs to pick up in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : Even as the Uttarakhand government is lauding itself for the wonderful rehabilitation and reconstruction work done by it in the region devastated by last year’s flash floods and ‘Himalayan tsunami’, the washing away of five youth who fell down from a damaged suspension bridge whose rope gave way tells a different story.

This is not all, the fear of the last year’s June 16-17 devastation and hardly any repair works having been undertaken is still fresh in the minds of the people. As rains lashed the Chamoli-Gopeshwar areas in the higher reaches of this small hill state, families of Sema village left their homes and rushed to the fields to prevent themselves from being buried under the debris of their homes.

Image by: Rediff
Image by: Rediff

While one admits that the amount of restoration and rehabilitation works that have to be undertaken are far too many and it will take quite some time before they can be completed, but the fact of the situation remains that the state government has not been able to restore the confidence of the masses in the upper reaches.

The irony of the situation is that pre-monsoon showers have already hit various parts of the state and the monsoons are round the corner. There is not much work that will be done during the monsoons in the upper reaches and the work that is progressing at a snail’s pace has not really made any impression at the grassroot level.

The general feeling is that taking into consideration the gravity of the situation and the huge amounts of work that need to be done to restore the confidence of the masses in the far-flung interiors, the government should have gone to work at a war footing. With the centre having sanctioned huge amounts of funds for the restoration and rehabilitation works, shortage of money is no excuse.

Most of the rivers in the state are already in spate due to the pre-monsoon showers and are going to overflow their banks as the monsoons get active. The make shift bridges that the locals are using to cross the rivulets and rivers are also likely to be washed away as the river water rises, meaning added problems for the people.

The general feeling in the state capital here is that rather than trying to gloss over the fact that there is a lot of work that needs to be done in the flood devastated regions, by issuing advertisements in the media claiming that huge works had been done, the state government should get down to the brass tacks and deliver the goods to the people, so that they feel that their interests and safety are being looked into.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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