Overnight rain blocks Badrinath highway, Bahuguna cancels tour

Debris brought over by overnight rains blocked Badrinath National Highway for six hours on Friday as bad weather forced chief minister Vijay Bahuguna to cancel his tour of some affected areas.

However, relief material in small quantities continued to be transported in Army choppers to affected areas including Badrinath in Chamoli district and adjoining villages.

Heavy overnight rains in Chamoli district brought mud and slush on to the Badrinath highway, blocking it near Nandprayag and Gauchar for six hours.

However, Border Road Organisation (BRO) personnel reopened it late this afternoon, officials said.

Bahuguna had to cancel his tour of affected areas in Chamoli’s Pindarghati due to bad weather.

Despite an alert sounded in Chamoli district following the formation of a lake by a melting glacier at Satopanth about 30 km from the Himalayan shrine, officials said there is no cause for panic.

Water percolation through the nearly 500 m lake is going on at a normal pace, so there is no cause for panic, an official said after a district administration team and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel conducted an aerial survey of the area.

With 14 km trek route to Kedarnath totally washed away in the recent calamity, the Army has begun the exercise of building an alternative 20-km route to the Himalayan shrine.

The exercise was launched at the request of civil administration and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to find out an alternative to the traditional route.

The new route is likely to follow the alignment from Sonprayag – Gomkar - Dev Vishnu - Dhungaj Giri - Kedarnath and will be about 20 km in length, passing over an altitude of over 13,000 ft, the Army said.

Most of the power supply lines snapped in the villages since the tragedy occurred have also been restored through alternative arrangements, officials said, adding total restoration of power in the countryside would not be possible before September 30.

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