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Jun 16, 2014 at 09:07am IST

Uttarakhand floods: A year on, thousands continue to struggle, bodies still lying around in Kedarnath

Guptkashi: As Uttarakhand marks the first anniversary of the devastating floods, thousands of survivors continue to struggle, hoping the government will eventually come good on its promise to provide jobs and new homes. In October 2013, over Rs 500 crore were sanctioned to the state Irrigation Department for flood protection embankments, but only Rs 6 crore were released by March 2014.

The Uttarakhand government had constituted a Special Task Force to conduct intensive combing operations in the forests adjoining Kedarnath in search of bodies. Authorities have recovered 17 more skeletal remains and cremated them in Kedar valley.

"We have prioritised rescue operations and relief work. We have done great work and the world has seen how big an operation the state government has carried out," said said Uttarakhand minister Dinesh Agarwal.

"The government lied saying there are no more bodies under the debris in Uttarakhand. They say that the GSI hasn't allowed them to take out the bodies. What kind of an argument is this," asked Uttarakhand Opposition leader Ajay Bhatt.

Meanwhile, CNN-IBN also did a status check of what the situation is at the temple shrine of Kedarnath. The Kedarnath shrine bore the brunt of the Mandakini's fury in June 2013. CNN-IBN's team trekked up to the holy temple town to find out if normalcy had returned and whether the scars of the calamity had healed at all. "When the water was gone, it looked like someone had thrown mountain-sized rocks on the roads," said an eyewitness.

But despite fears and the difficulties, many pilgrims, driven by faith have made the arduous journey to the Kedarnath shrine this year as well. Most devotees make a night halt at the shrine before trekking back the next day.

The locals are trying to ensure a smooth yatra for the pilgrims. Voluntary groups are providing free food and make-shift tents in the absence of pucca structures.

A year after the disaster some roads have been rebuilt, but the journey to and from Kedarnath remains a huge challenge.