Gopeshwar: Accusing the Uttarakhand government of sleeping over a report of National Remote Sensing Agency, noted environmentalist and Magsaysay awardee Chandi Prasad Bhatt on Sunday said had the government taken the report seriously "destruction in and around Kedarnath shrine would have been much less horrific".
"The scale of destruction at the Himalayan shrine could have been far less if the state government had paid adequate attention to the report of National Remote Sensing Agency, whose scientists had identified the natural calamity prone areas of Uttarakhand and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh way back in 2001," the Magsasay awardee said.
"The report identifies the areas around Kedarnath including Rambara, Gaurikund, Ghindurpani, and Garuriya, which have been the worst hit in the recent tragedy, as highly prone to landslides and natural calamities," he said.
The report, termed as `Hazard Zonation Mapping`, was prepared by arond 100 distinguished scientists from country`s leading research institutes at the initiative of the Indian government and was submitted to the state government in 2001.
"But since then, it has been gathering dust in the offices of district magistrates who have done precious little to implement the recommendations of the panel," the environmentalist alleged.
The expert panel had recommended a host of measures for the calamity sensitive area of the state and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh including planned mining, bio-technical measures for channelisation of water in the catchment areas of rivers near Kedarnath, afforestation of Rambada and Jungle Chatti areas, soil conservation and slope modification measures in Gaurikund besides construction of retention walls in Hanuman Chatti which have all been severely damaged in the deluge.
"Had even five per cent of the recommendations of the panel been implemented, the scale of destruction in and around the Himalayan shrine would have been much less horrific," he said.