83 villages at risk of being washed away by Monsoon rains
With monsoon making its presence felt across the state a new study in has found that 83 villages in Kumaon region are prone to being washed away due to heavy rains. According to the irrigation department, these villages across Almora, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar and Bagheshwar districts face a threat due to the rivers flowing in the vicinity which have posed problems in the past.
Experts said that if the rains continued, water from the fast-swelling rivers may wash away a large chunk of the settlements. The threat to these villages is nothing new. Earlier, too, plans were made to shift residents of 26 of them elsewhere, but according to officials this was never executed.
Thousands of people living in 83 villages of Kumaon region, which are close to rivers, are now at the mercy of the weather after the monsoon reached Uttarakhand on Wednesday. With incessant showers continuing to lash the region, fear of flooding and landslide looms large over the villages.
Last month, chief minister Harish Rawat had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital and sought a package of Rs 13,000 crore to shift about 400 natural disaster-prone villages of Garhwal and Kumaon divisions. “Although these villages were identified as most ecologically-sensitive soon after the 2013 mid-June floods, we have not shifted their residents to safer places for want of money,” Rawat had said.