New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed an order of Uttarakhand High Court directing the completion of construction of roads and bridges destroyed in the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy in a time-bound manner.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud stayed the November 19, 2016, order and issued notice to petitioners who were before the high court.
Uttarakhand government had filed the appeal through advocate Farukh Rasheed saying the high court had erred in passing several mandatory directions which were not harmonious with the guidelines of National Disaster Management Authority (NDRF) and SDRF, for rehabilitation of the affected people.
He said that out of damaged 2072 roads and 258 bridges in the state, 2068 roads were opened to traffic within a short period and the remaining four roads which were completely washed away are proposed to be reconstructed.
Rasheed said that out of 258 damaged bridges, 136 have been repaired and made available for traffic.
"At 21 locations, reconstruction of bridge is not required because of availability of alternative connectivity.
As such, only 101 washed out bridges are to be reconstructed against which 25 bridges have so far been reconstructed and 10 are under constructions," he said. The state government said the Asian Development Bank and World Bank have approved funding for "Uttarakhand Disaster Relief Project (Road and Bridges)" under which reconstruction and strengthening of 866 roads of 3567 km length costing Rs 970.30 crore is to be done in a span of four years.
The Kedarnath area in the state had received unprecedented heavy rainfall between June 14, 2013 to June 17, 2013 and the Chorabari lake had collapsed due to cloudburst that had resulted in a major flash flood.
Several roads, buildings and other structures were washed away and, according to the state government's plea, the estimated death toll was around 10,000, with over 3,000 persons missing.
The high court had in its order directed the state government to complete the construction of 10 bridges, within one year and completion of tender process for 16 bridges within a period of two months.
It had said the remaining damaged 49 bridges would also be reconstructed within one year along with four washed out roads within two years.
The court had passed slew of directions including that the state government would complete the 141 roads of 966 kilometers length approved by the World Bank and 60 roads approved by Asian Development Bank, by completing all the formalities within a period of two years.