Thursday, 13 February 2014

Kedhar ghati – still floating in mandhagini flood waters

Every one know many many versions of many many stories that brought by mandhagini flood waters in kedar valley in the june 2013. After my repost –save kedar – project - many of the enquiries  to support the task. The enthusim and dedication of those beloved heart make me to write this one.

I don’t know whether it is complaint report or factual presentation . but it is from the eyes of the common man who does not involve in any organization or activity . just writing from the road by listening  what  the sound echos in these mountains .

It has been nearly 8 months gone now. Forth coming season is going to come in another 2 months. But the never ending stories and searches still visible in this valley . the pain of living is more than the pain of dead ones.

I could not stop the father who comes in search of his daughter even after 6 months since some pundit or sadhu told she will be alive somewhere. May be if I had a child , I also may do same

It is very painful always to give someone who is next to you in the water and you alive. It is more painful that you don’t know what happened to the person who is just with you.

When the story of the visitors are like this ,  the local stories are very different. The son who assisted the profession for his father, at kedar treated as child labour and no compensation given for the family for the loss of his life.

Above all , even if they see eligibility to get compensation  either for loss of building or family member the process and the round about things , one can’t call it as karma or fate or lack of awareness or lack of clarity.

There are stories that the cheques issued by government has been bounced back for no money. As I said in the serial , everything is depending on who is coordinating? and how is coordinating?.

Though we can say it as government , its just people , politics and administration . that’s all.  It was the time when whole nation stand behind to reconstruct , now after 8 months , I feel the whole opportunity has been missed in local petty politics.

Various organizations (ashrams) who has announced various rehabilitation projects not able to get proper support from government  or not willing to work with government , so just managing with supply of  materials and adopting childrens or individuals (with their influence of local contacts) due to their political principles

Baba Ramdev has adopted nearly 50 boys by creating an hostel near guptakashi . RSS has adopted 30 boys and Sadhvi maa rithambara’s organization has taken 30 girls. But in district management website , I could not see these efforts either as acknowledgement or as accredition for the families of flood victims.

I don’t know but still , it may be these childrens are not yet become orphans in terms of government guidelines (only if both mother and father got lost will considered as orphans), since most of them have their mother in their village. But these children migrated due to loss of their father, the only income generating person in their family.

On the other hand the mother choosed to live in the village and expecting some compensation will settle herself somehow. They could not leave the house or village due to their connection to the land , above all the main thing the people of the land nothing exposed outside to survive anywhere.

During the initial days of the disaster management I would say I have seen such a pathetic display of disaster management co-ordination. All the state government and other organizations just rushing on their own to reach either only their people or whole community as much as possible . not a single organization has been looking at whole.

Above all for such a massive scale of rescue operation , the first one of such scale and depth in recent history , the agents ( state and central government) of the administration who has to put its best has functioned far below to its normal standard exposed how much we prepared to handle the disaster management.

Atlast by November , some how after many perusals and follow ups by various people the state government has submitted the disaster management guidelines , for its approval to National Disaster Management Authority.

Till now I don’t know whether it has been approved or is it still in the process of approval . Only shiva has to come down , to train the government servants to know how to act and what to do ? because the chief minister somehow managed till now , in his local politics with in his party has lost his ground and new one has come.

Anyway we have next rainy june , which is just another few months , to find out its exact position. Even if nothing happens , if media wake up or opposition asks questions , now we have one person to blame . we can say its ex-cm’s fault that’s why he even eliminated from his post. But no one ask question why this cm or cabinet not done anything in this regard.  Just appreciating the peoples innocence and politicians skill.

Many many organizations functioning in this part of country announced various projects and programs to rejuvenate the affected peoples life and livelihood. But today if I visited those organizations website , to find out , the progress and update on their mission , not able to find out single foot print of what’s happening in their commitment.

Of which I would say few functioned intelligently because they collected the donations , given to CM relief fund , taken a photograph and silently left. I would say this is intelligent move , because here no expectation or responsibility lying on the shoulders of  organization or its leader.

Though every one did great service at initial stage by distributing relief materials and running community kitchens, but huge quantity of food and other relief materials have gone waste due to each one does on their own and no proper coordination. It  also air’d in tv channels in special programs.

Even we can accept this , because at the initial stage , the time and focus of administrative machinery just to focus on rescue operations. There are lot of factors for this , but still why this lapse at everyside , especially when such huge toll given by thousands of people . are we not interest to learn ? are we not interest to serve ? everyone is blaming the corruption and politics .

Why we failed to learn – I say ?
On july 22nd  two newspapers reported like this (the hindu and times of india)

Bottom of Form
DEHRADUN, July 22, 2013
Roadmap prepared for clearing debris at Kedarnath
© 2013 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved

Roadmap prepared for clearing debris at Kedarnath

PTI Jul 21, 2013, 01.28PM IST

A road map of proposal for execution has been created by the team formed with ASI, GSI, army personnels  and other top officials , but over the period no one knows what happens to this team or their report. – where this road reached now? Infact no one knows whether this road exists in paper or not?

On oct 5th , the day when Kedarnath reopens for public dharshan , an open letter came in india today magazine , by shri Anuoop Nautial who is ex-ceo of uttarakhand 108 emergency services  which expresses the doubts and questions the decisions of then CM and the priority of government in handling the disaster management and reconstruction process.

The government priority and CM commitment has been issued in many medias , that too many times , to issue pre-fabricated houses for the people who lost their house in the flood with in the dead line of Oct 30th 2013.

I personnelly visited many ashrams which announced various projects where the volunteers who are working in their disaster project told their works of creating the pre-fabricated houses. But as far as I know , till jan , none of the house has been given to the beneficiaries. Because of WADIA institute has completed its geological studies only in November and submitted its report to government.(actually the institute has asked government to get their prior sanction for any kind of creation of villages /houses.

The reason in CM words , “ The CM said GSI experts — who had begun an on-the-spot survey, with the help of scientists from the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, three months after the flash floods hit the region — had warned the state government against launching any reconstruction work before prior sanction from them.”-- that means the government is not yet able to cross the bridge to reach its people.

On Nov 16th – after the temple closed for winter – after nearly 4 months of disaster  - it came in news papers as – “Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna has expressed his government's inability to begin reconstruction work in Kedarnath and elsewhere in the valley — including Guptkashi, Gaurigoan, Gaurikund , Kund and Rambada”

ASI ‘s first report has been submitted in nov 2013 , after the temple closed for winter , it tells as how much work there and how much time takes even for a small scale.  On this month end (nov) the GSI alsog submitted its findings as report with suggestions.

The GSI report says
  • Complete ban on construction near the ancient shrine
  • The entire kedarnath township has to be shifted 2-3 km downstream
  • Only the boulders close to the temple and harm to temple has to be removed –not all
  • The mandagini river which originates from the chorabari glacier near kedarnath should be diverted to its original course
  • Installation of early warning system for natural disaster and mapping of landslides and their potentiality in kedarnath
This is the extract of geological department and WADIA institute report which came in news papers in December. But as a lay man I suggested all these solutions for better disaster management even without knowing all these reports.

Few things I suggested as solutions in my power point presentation , here I list , for your views

Ø       The area is prone for further disaster and causalities due to changes in landscape both in upper region and in the settlement area and also due to river has taken divertive course at the Chorabari lake (become major one around the town area).


Ø        so need to bring a comprehensive solution,  by considering local people needs, travellers needs , environmental and religious aspects is very important

How the nature of solutions must be:

          Should get more time from nature , to prevent the present status from forth coming seasonal rains.

          Should have immediate and long term plans to address the livelihood of locals along with environmental concerns raised.

          Should float a system with technological solutions for better future and permanent solution with room to improve always.

          Should improve the experience of devotees by improving services to pilgrims without diluting the devotional aspects of yatra.

          Should be possible to implement if coordinated well among various agencies and government organizations.

For any solution that we want to do- the time limit we have:
·      
      Only April and may the ideal time to implement the immediate things to be done to prevent the settlement from next rainy season ahead – approximately 45 days to 60 days.

Ensuring a conducive atmosphere:

          If this has to happen, atleast for next may period (due to political or business or any other kind of pressure) not to open the yatra in full swing in this area (in the sense media publicity should be kept low).

            This will give better focus and coordination for the district administration for the result oriented approach (but we can allow the yatra for all other zones).


Immediate work to be done in terms of yatra:

Ø       Multi language information centers in all places.

Ø       Creating toll free numbers for people to get relevant information in all possible Indian languages (especially south Indian and Hindi apart English) –which gives train details, temple pooja’s, emergency services , nearest medical services.

Ø       Website creation for pilgrims and locals who goes for these spots registration with the facilities of Vehicle and human tracking system.

Ø       Creation of computerized  reporting stations across the state at every small town on the enroute and link with website.

Ø       Developing travel card system(like credit card) so that by swiping in reporting stations we can track the vehicle and pilgrims.

Ø       Issuing of temporary id cards for all pilgrims irrespective of whether they submitted government issued id cards such as voter card or driving license etc so that every one can go for the dharshan.

Ø       Developing mobile applications for disaster alerts.

Immediate work to be done in terms of Kedar settlement protection:

          As scientific report points out need to build umbrella structure protection wall (20 to 25 ft width and  40 to 50 ft height to cover whole region) at the top of the temple back side to divert the water inflow.

            Building a protection wall on left side of Kedar temple- in the old way of Mandagini – to prevent land slides when water flows in full capacity during rainy season.

            Building a protection wall on the right side of Kedar temple – so that the furious Saraswathi not to breech in town in rainy seasons.

            Building an helipad in somewhere near area the old bridge that connecting Kedar entry .

Works to be done in temple management for devotees better experience of pilgrimage :

          Making the BKTC as effective service provider organization by inducting service minded people in its top level.

          Running a cargo helicopter between Sonprayag or Rampur to Kedarnath, so that the trekkers can go without burden of their luggage's and also can be used for the needs of lodge owners (free for pilgrims and on payment for lodge owners)  - this will help to minimize the goda traffic in the trek route especially in the present narrow path.

          Creating a supporting network for services thru BKTC by joining hands with corporate people who can come forward to provide service for pilgrims.

          Bringing some systems in temples to regulate the pooja and dharshan , with very less cost in such a way that every one can affordable to participate and by this creating effective support system for local pundits.

Work to be done in terms of disaster management and effective coordination:

Ø       Ensuring BSNL  and other portal’s 3g data service in all the main places that is on the enroute to all the destinations

Ø       Ensuring the rain fall gauge data collection in higher altitudes (above 2000 mts) especially where pilgrims visiting or stay for night halt

Ø       Ensuring alarming system in all the villages to give alert and announcements

Ø       Organizing trainings for all youngsters to manage and coordinate the situation

Ø       Giving training for local authorities as how to organize to protect the human lives.

Accommodation facilities at Kedarnath and Gaurikund for pilgrims:


Immediate proposal for the upcoming season:
Utilizing existing resources:
    
At present the administration to allow just 100 people per day. If we clean the left out buildings we can get stay facilities for minimum 1000 people in both the places.

What this cleaning helps and how to do it?

Ø       Gives more accommodation in the both areas.

Ø       Gives employment for locals and hope and economy for lodge owners.

Ø       Need to find out traditional methods such as homa/yagna and scientific methods to cleanse the air to avoid infections for people who come to stay.

Ø       Need to burn all the materials that kept in ground floor of the buildings due to stinky air, decayed body parts, fungus pruned materials.

Long term plan:

Ø       Now the scientists report suggesting to shift the township to safer area due to the river has taken divertive route to flow.  -- also the new township creation should be acceptable environment aspects


Ø       So we can develop a scheme , thru which the local lodge owners can get loan at cheaper interest to build only prefabricated huts in erstwhile goda shed area which is more plain than the helipad area and river is also flowing at very low level

         Which addressed all peoples concerns including local lodge owners and also give economy back to them

         Can build the new township in less time so by next season (that is 2015) it will be fully prepared

Food through community kitchens:


·    
  Instead of running hotels and make it as business place, we can give space for ashrams and seva organizations to build few community kitchens where the devotees can get needs as seva.

Traffic control in the trek path between Sonprayag and Kedarnath:

          No matter one should not allow to start the trek  after 10 am from Gaurikund so the late goers can stay at Limpcholi.

          During downward trek one should not allow to go down after 4 pm at Limpcholi.

Transportation:

          For anything and everything the transportation is biggest aspect to be addressed. Now after the flood, in the trek path allowing goda’s is huge hindrance for pilgrims to walk. So BKTc can run a cargo service only for luggage's and materials purpose . daily one time service can solve lot.

          First it is for construction of new township and support for pilgrims then later it is support for pilgrims and for the lodge owners (luggage transport).

          It can be given same cost or even less cost to the existing goda rates . IN TTD at Tirupathi for trekkers it is been given free service but they transporting it thru vehicles on road.

Trek Route:

          The newly developed trek route  can’t be used in rainy seasons for sure – especially above Rambara, Sonprayag to Gaurikund and from Gaurikund to till joining the old route (the 1.5 km) – so need to create sustainable solutions

             like higher level bridge in rambara to cross the river in rainy season , creating alternative route with bridges so that to avoid the water falls in the route , bringing lights in the enroute between temple and camp site at the top

making the kedarnath development authority and BKTc as effective body in delivering the results :

          Creating a team of coordination committee by bringing  appropriate people  who can serve to humanity with single point agenda , which also has Hindu religious leaders ,legal and technical experts , environmentalists  and scientists, ex- government officials.

          Bringing these organisations in line with State disaster management board to handle disaster management situations

The role of this body in producing the results:

          Giving suggestions to the government and ensuring it is been accomplished in stipulated time frame.

            Digging out solutions which address the needs of locals, environment and ecological concerns, government agencies.

            Coordinating with government by creating a second level of representatives for every aspect.

          Setting up standards and quality for temple maintenance , services and facilities to pilgrims.

          Coordinating to create necessary infrastructures needed for the region.

What’s lacking in government (various) department’s reports

The Archelogical people can’t say anything except temple and its related. Whatever geological people say will not be acceptable for religious based local people . what ever local people say won’t have any input which satisfy ecological and geological norms. The environmental reports won’t consider religious and local people’s welfare. It is like hand , leg, eyes, body all there but head and brain is missing.

Why I am keen on this ?

Now i am doing this , since my previous visit to kedar in oct 15th , after seeing that nothing has been done in cleaning the place or restoring the pride, I almost walked every one and every possible organization (Who claimed that they doing something or who I felt that they can take me to higher people) with this .

May be if I had an banner of organization or I had a support of some corporate head on my back , I would have received by them well. But I had only my shiva , who is also lost his dearest one’s in her fury of anger.

Every person who I approached is really potential one , even many of them are daily in touch with both congress and BJP heads. But only thing is shiva is not yet willing to listen our chants. that’s all I can say. I admit I not walked every door of every ashram but I just choosed few who has such high contacts and organizational experience , from my perception . Because of the nature , scale and other realities of the project. 


Though i reached their desk beyond my language barrier , though they received well , either they hesistating to take it up further to the political leaderships due to the thinking what the political will demand them or they just seeing another possibility to promote themself in banners and society. on the other hand i noticed , they have equal amount of resistance from local people and officials as equally to the point of support from corporate sectors.

Especially when I read the NGO’s complaint in newspaper ,( what a pity ,) because of their reputation is at stake , due to changed position of government in its relief norms in granting the compensation for the lost buildings , the villagers in kalimath village , refused to accept the pre-fab houses since they can’t get 5 lakh given by govt. incase if they accept these pre-fab houses.

See a point here , this is the incident happened in june , the Ngo’s came for service (I don’t know what procedure they followed to accredit the organizations who came forward for help ) now in dec 6 months gone , now the government floating a policy (in the changed grounds). Till I read the then CM shri vijay baghuguna’s interview I also not aware that every thing was stopped to complete the studies and submission of various department reports.

This is very simple procedure and coordination that has to be done by government . one side lot of beneficiaries who are at loss of their assets and dearest one’s and on the other side pile of queue of organization are ready to offer whatever they ask.

Just the administration has to get all organizations proposals , also take note of needed things , just record the documentation procedures, coordinate to deliver the need. Today I visited the rudraprayag dist admin website to find out the updates.

There is a pdf they uploaded , in which don’t know how many proposals came (the column left blank) for village adoption but they allotted 57 villages to various organizations .
whole village adoption as on 24-10-2013 report


need
proposed
allotted
remaining
partners

Focused intervention of all sectors in selected village (‘village adoption’)

57

0

Mata amritanandamayi trust – 34, Tata relief committee -3 ,-[under discussion- THDCIL – 5, Indian orthodox church -1, Mazgaon docks -2 , Goa govt -2, Parmarth niketan -7 , Narsingh bhawan trust -2 , state farm – 1}


 The pdf further says as 26 authoization letters issued for various organizations and listed out the MoUs that are ready to be signed for various purpose with the organizations such as U turn foundation, Karuna social service society –Kotdwar, the Indian express , Round table 51-dehradun, Lupin foundation and UP samaj kalian Nirman nigam limited.

On 3rd oct 2013 – a report has been generated and uploaded as pdf in the website regarding -housing and shelter needs


 
need
proposed
allotted
remaining
Partners

Permanent houses


790



Tata -143 , THDC -204, abeda ganga maiya trust – 36, reliance -8, janakpur sansthan- 29, manav seva sansthan 69


Temp/transitional shelter


166



Care 55, prayag -5, PSI -33, Shanti Kunj ,haridwar-35 , PsI -38



Permanent houses

various organizations name that I seen in media and advts, I could not see there. That means either these organizations doing themselves by bypassing the government (because if they give commitment to government it has to do) or the government is not willing to take these peoples service.

But strangely all these organizations are still working in this region , collecting donations from public , which also well in aware of government, documenting their relief material distribution to the donors (beyond this nothing happen is different subject, because for others you require government nod or coordination).

I visited to few prominent organization’s website- who are campaining and collecting funds for rehabilitation works to get the updates of their project status. Few of them listed all the village names in kedar valley , where they not done any single service .

Even their initial service were happened in other areas only. Very strange for me when I talk about them with local people , based on their website information, as locals angry on them,

The people I thought innocent or in ignorance , also not like that. They get materials whoever gives. And if they feel extra the shops are always there to encash. Because I wonder how a family can live in camp or affected village without basic things such as cooking utensils , stoves , blankets that too every organization is keep coming and distributing.

When we read the kalimath news , we, myself and few friends,  discussed to get,  one prefabricated house (2 bedroom {1 for sadhana and 1 for stay} house with a kitchen and bathroom ) –atleast the NGO can get one photo of created house and handing over to beneficiary na - ofcourse I also a victim of kedar flood J (ofcourse now discovery channel has covered interview , dinamani.com has published my article) , but I don’t have ration card or permanent address  of stay to apply for these things.

They suggested this because they want me to live here with them forever. But till today we don’t know whom to approach. J I must express my gratitude to their elder brother shri madhav ,who offered one of the room to stay (during the off season) .

Though their kedarnath building is safe but still the path has been destroyed completely , so it is just on the edge of river. And need to be cleaned. Above all they don’t know what the government is going to decide on existing buildings. Inspite of many loss of income and human life still they supporting me is great blessing.

It is the blessing of these people I have been here. not any ashrams supported. It is Guruji’s blessing I had such wonderful people in my life. Now one of his brother himself offered the terrace space to build such one structure for me and requested to live with him forever.

The world is there before to me and will be there even after to me . I no need to project myself as great servant or great emperor to lead. I just want to live silently .

I am happy to see those childrens in RSS or any other organization , atleast now they getting some thing better than that was available to them.  They may not be orpans as per government record but sure they lost most valuable thing in their life in the flood.

If you look at the solutions I listed is not great things. Many of it can be implemented in no time , just by an order . for many things we can utilize the services of the people and organizations . But it need care. It can’t be done with anyone who wants to promote his organization or his political party.

I can’t reach chief minister to discuss or guide. I am neither be a head of great spiritual organization who has ability and people to collect donations  / execute or coordinate with government. I am simple ordinary human being with my own limitations and mistakes who not even have permanent shelter to get address.( ofcourse I have no worry)

Even the chief minister admitted his inability for not able to deliver the result by his government , due to lack of insight and not setting the priority or not able to demand the work from his machinery.

It is a country which witnessed ,where the honourable home minister of central government ,  has admitting the lack of coordination among the government departments openly in press (instead of delivering the result) that too in a situation where nearly another 50000 people stranded in flood affected areas (nearly 10 days after the flood taken toll).

I won’t say nothing happened. How else these childrens now got better school. But the school has not admitted them without fees. They not even given any concession for the organization which support these childrens.

And especially kedar , no one can do by their own. Even the government not able to do what they can do.  It also has to do paper works to coordinate from GSI, WADIA institute , ASI, DRDO , environmental ministry etc.

Above all they not yet utilizing the organizations such as Badri kedar temple committee or Kedar development authority. The people who are in these organizations is mainly based on single political party or influenced by it. If you have power and support to take me there , let me know , though I can’t do all you expect , may be I can do my best J 

I am just waiting for his grace and blessings to get the support for my basic needs and complete my sadhana before I die, forever to be at his feet and do some help for my childrens who are living in camps as long as I exists.

I may have desire to run a 50 bed hospital with best facilities to serve for womens and pilgrims. I may have desire to run a good library for the childrens. I may have desire to buy a hotel and convert it as toilet and bathrooms ( before devprayag) appoint few volunteers and maintain it clean and offer to travelers on free of cost.

I may have desire to buy a place , build some structure , where any sanyasi , whichever order comes , get served of their basic needs for sadhana. But all need organization and administration , above all you have to lobby with these politicians . You people know the issues of management and wealth better than me.

I may have desire to meet Ragul or Namo , join in their cabinet as railway minister and do best service to our people.But the truth is I am penniless , no permanent shelter , not even have support to cross the security gate of Ragul or Namo’s Personnel assistant house.

i am not interest to get my name . i did my best. i got few more wonderful people in my life in this process. nothing is worth than that. i got good experience too. it is just on my desire on kedar i started. i very well aware i don't have any strength or capability to take such kind or in such scale .but atleast now it gave my satisfaction to me. 



Dreams are always beautiful. That’s why I enjoy it . And in the life you need Dream to engage yourself in the day. 

if you have any ideas or if you willing to join with me for this task or if you have easy solutions to make this happen or anything else related to this topic - {except not to complain about the system of people } pls mail me to swami.sushantha@gmail.com 

i may not be give 100 percent guarantee you for results but i guarantee you to do our best within the limitations of life we have. 

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