Rebuilding will take at least two years
With several roads and bridges being washed away in flood-hit Uttarakhand, repairing and rebuilding the road infrastructure is likely to take at least two years.
Roads in hill states are being developed and maintained by both state government agencies as well as Border Roads Organisation (BRO), under the Ministry of Defence. Though multiple agencies have started repairing the roads, it would be of temporary nature. Full-fledged restoration of bridges and roads will be undertaken only next summer, sources in the government said.
As the current monsoon spell ends in August, works can be taken up only in September and October. Thereafter winter will set in and the heavy snowfall in hilly regions will be an impediment. Hence, restoration work in right earnest will start only next summer, the sources added.
In Rudraprayag district alone, about 500 roads and 175 bridges have been washed away, while at least 50 major landslides occurred on four stretches -- Rudraprayag-Gaurikund, Rishikesh-Joshimath-Mana, Rishikesh- Dharasu-Gangotri and Pithoragarh-Ghatiabgarh maintained by BRO.
Rishikesh-Joshimath-Mana road, which leads to the famous Badrinath shrine, has been quite seriously affected and "beyond Joshimath, up to Mana, serious damage has occurred. Two detours - Simli-Gwaldham and Joshimath-Malari - are closed,” the official said, adding that as far as Rishikesh-Dharasu-Gangotri road was concerned, “road beyond Dharasu is a major concern.”
More than 3,000 people from Border Roads Organisation's Shivalik and Hirak projects are working on a war footing in calamity-ravaged stretches to restore vital links, while about 50 excavators, bulldozers and JCBs have been pressed into service, the official said.