Dehradun/Chandigarh: Heavy rains are not the only worrying factor in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, but also the glaciers and the lakes formed are adding to the tensions. With over 3000 people missing in the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, nearly a 1000 people have been announced dead. According to reports, many advisories had been issued by the state MeT department to the government before the catastrophe struck Uttarakhand.
There are 948 glaciers in Uttarakhand – many of them are located around the Char Dhams; Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri. Glacier scientists said that all the Char Dhams are vulnerable to the destruction caused in Kedarnath by the excessive rainfall in Chorabari Lake located in the Kedar valley.
According to the scientists, the rainfall has increased to 4500 metre compared to the 3000-3500 metre. They said that the reason for the excessive rainfall is the decrease in the amount of snowfall in the area. Though there are glacier inventories, there is no information about the lakes that originate from the glaciers.
According to Glacier scientist of Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology Dr DP Dobhal, glaciology centres have been conducting studies. Santopath in Badrinath, Charabari in Kedarnath, Gangotri in Gangotri, Khatling in Yamunotri – these are the biggest glaciers in the area. The lakes tend to overflow in case of excessive rains. The melting glaciers also result in excessive downstream of water which ultimately results in the destruction.
According to Dr Dobhal, India must learn from Nepal. As there are no inventories for the lake originating from glaciers, it is difficult to take a stock of all such lakes. An inventory must be prepared for the glacier-built lakes, he said. There should be no humanitarian accessibility to the dangerous lakes. A check should be kept that no one can go beyond a certain point in a glacier. A committee should be formed and studies should be conducted. Nepal has already prepared an inventory of all the glaciers and all the lakes originating from the glaciers. There are around 1000 glaciers and therefore, the area is more vulnerable.
Click the slides to see the pictures of the devastation caused in Uttarakhand…