Dehradun, Aug 16: It is two months since a calamity of unprecedented magnitude hit Uttarakhand on June 16, but the authorities are still struggling to put life back on track in the state where over 140 roads, including major national highways, are blocked and over 300 villages still cut off from the rest of the country.
Though foodgrain supplies had reached almost all the villages in the affected areas with the help of choppers during the prolonged relief operations, a large network of roads to remote villages are still damaged or blocked and mules and horses are the only option to transport rations, authorities here said.
"Vast stretches of roads running into hundreds of kilometres and a large number of bridges have been completely washed out in the tragedy and we cannot expect things to get back to normal anytime soon," the state's Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre Executive Director Piyush Rautela said.
Frequent rains at most places is another factor hampering road restoration work, which alone can bring life back to normal in the affected areas, he said. Considering the massive damage caused by the calamity to roads and the vagaries of the weather hampering reconstruction work, it may take people in affected areas months to resume their lives on a normal basis, he further added.
"However, BRO has undertaken the task of completing road restoration work by September 30 and let us hope it is able to meet the deadline set by the state government," he said.
A report from the DMMC said 143 roads including major national highways like Rishikesh-Kedarnath NH in Rudraprayag district, Rishikesh-Badrinath NH in Chamoli district, Rishikesh-Yamunotri and Rishikesh-Gangotri NH in Uttarkashi district are still blocked by debris containing huge boulders falling over frequently from hills following landslips.
Despite 385 bulldozers, JCBs and nearly 6000 PWD personnel engaged in the exercise of clearing the roads and reconnecting the villages, about 322 of them are still cut off from the rest of the country, the DMMC said in its report.