Fresh landslides hit Uttarakhand, 60 families moved to safer places


Dehradun: Over 60 families were on Wednesday shifted to safer places in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district after heavy rains lashed many areas triggering landslides, even as authorities said 1,710 roads out of 2,092 damaged in the last month's flash floods have been reopened to traffic.
The families were moved out of six villages in Chamoli district on the direction of District Magistrate V Sahnmugam, officials said.
Meanwhile, former state Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had a narrow escape when a landslide hit the Netali Maneri Marg in Uttarkashi district where he was on a tour to assess the situation, according to District Magistrate Pankaj Pandey.
BJP sources said Nishank, along with his supporters, was on foot as roads in the area had suffered extensive damage in the floods.
An Uttarakhand government release said 1,710 roads out of 2,092 damaged in the devastating floods have been reopened to traffic. A total of 3,729 villages, out of 4,200 which were cut off, have been connected by roads, it said.
The authorities were working on a war footing to restore road connectivity to 471 villages, besides repairing 382 damaged roads. The Centre has earmarked Rs 300 crore for Border Road Organisation(BRO) for reconstruction of roads.
Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, who was on a day-long visit here, said that a local office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests will be opened in Dehradun for expeditious transfer of land of up to five hectare for rebuilding of damaged infrastructure. 
"The local office would be able to grant sanction for transfer of up to five hectare of forest land for development of damaged infrastructure," the minister said.
The decision was taken at a meeting between Natrajan and Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna here, according to a release.
She assured expeditious transfer if forest land for infrastructure development. Work to rebuild damaged road network, infrastructure and ensuring proper rehabilitation of affected families in Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Bageswar, Pithoragarh and Haridwar was on.
On Tuesday, families of 51 people from the state, who lost their lives in the tragedy, were given compensation cheques of Rs 5 lakh each at various district headquarters through the district collectors, officials said.
Compensation will also be given to the next of kin of those missing, but if they are found, the families will have to return the relief money, Bahuguna has said. An estimated 5,748 people are still missing. 

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