Shri. Vijay Bahuguna
Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Dehradun
Smt. Amrita Rawat
Subject: Need to remove fear of “Unsafe Uttarakhand”
As we all know that recent disaster has damaged Uttarakhand and thus lost links like roads and bridges, there is a scarcity of food etc in remote villages, thousands became widows and orphan children, broken houses and villages washed away. Govt and different agencies are providing relief for the affected people.
Electronic Media has been presenting grave pictures of the flood-time of building collapses etc. But it’s not the case anymore. Cloudbursts are common in Uttarakhand like in all Himalayan regions and they occur in isolated areas. And "Heavy rains" do happen like in every part of the country. Cloudbursts and Heavy rains are not ‘Breaking News'. In order to make the economy of Uttarakhand stand on its own feet, we feel it is most important and need of the hour to remove this fear from the minds of common people of the country about Uttarakhand flood, cloudbursts, broken roads etc so that common people, pilgrims and tourists can visit the state.
This will generate income to Hotels, Dharmshalas, Ashrams, Guest Houses, trek guides, porters, small shopkeepers, vendors, taxi owners etc. Many tourist organisations, trek guides, porters are waiting for work. They have become unemployed after the calamity. Apart from relief work, this step is also necessary.
As in our recent visits to Uttarakhand in the connection of relief work, we found out that the impact of disaster is more on those people living in other areas too which did not get affected due to the June calamity.
The serenity of Himalayas in Uttarakhand is still intact. Every peak is green now. The mighty Ganga and its source rivers and tributaries are flowing like they always do during this time of monsoon. Road blocks on main roads are removed and occasional landslides are a common phenomenon in this season and the maintenance department takes care of them immediately. So that’s not a problem too.
From Rishikesh to Badrinath, road until Govindghat is good and the buses are plying up to Joshimath regularly. One can go to Pandukeshwar, (where Badrinath ji idol is shifted for winter duration every year). Very few interior roads are still to be built which were broken due to Natural cum Man made calamity recently. All the five Prayags (confluence) namely Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Karnprayag, Nandprayag and Vishnuprayag are in good condition.
Road from Rishikesh to Uttarkashi is also fine. There are many more interesting places in Ganga, Bhagirathi and Alaknanda valleys like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Neelkant, Dehradun, Mussorrie, Almora, Auli, Nainital, Chopta, Karthikswamy, Ukhimath (Kedarnath idol is shifted here now), Tungnath, Gopeshwar, Saptakund, Tapovan, PeepalKoti, Malari, Pokhri, Meyali, Chirbatiya, Dhodital, Dhanolti, Narendranagar, Ranikhet (Almora), Lensdown, Sonprayag, Khirsu, Kanvashram, Guptkashi etc to visit. One can visit and stay nearby. One can also go for trekking.
As Govt. has recently said that the Char Dham Yatra will start from 30th September, hence, before that it is required that the fear of common people, pilgrims and tourists is removed by presenting the actual picture via Media and break the myth of "Unsafe Uttarakhand", so that people can start coming in the state. For this we have some suggestions:-
- A campaign can be started by the State Government to attract people to visit the state. This can be done by giving a statement and some advertisements in print and visual media. Matu Jansangthan has already issued a Press Release with some recent photos (http://goo.gl/oCHi1Z) regarding this.
- State Tourism Department can organize some promotional campaigns in other states.
- Necessary actions should be taken to build trust of the people (residing outside the state) regarding Government’s plans and mechanisms.
Hoping best from your end
Vimalbhai, Puran S. Rana, Briharshraj Tadiyal, Rajendra S. Negi, Dinesh S. Panwar