A portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February, triggering an avalanche and deluge in the Alaknanda river system that washed away hydroelectric stations and trapped many workers. The sudden flood in the middle of the day in the Dhauli Ganga, Rishi Ganga and Alaknanda rivers, all intricately linked tributaries of the Ganga, triggered widespread panic and large-scale devastation in the high mountain areas. The flash flood also washed away a 90-metre span RCC bridge on Joshimath-Malari road located just downstream of the Rishi Ganga Hydel project and approximately two kilometres upstream of the Tapovan Hydel project, which was the only link to Niti border. Washing away of the bridge has stranded more than 13 border villages in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
Border Roads Orgnisation (BRO) has quickly swung into action for rescue and rehabilitation work by inducting more than 100 Vehicles/Equipment and plants which include about 15 Heavy Earth Moving Equipment like Hydraulic Excavators, Dozers, JCBs, Wheel Loaders, etc. The BRO has also Air inducted critical equipment with the help of Indian Air Force. Almost 200 personnel of 21 BRTF of Project Shivalik have been deployed for rescue and rehabilitation purposes. After initial recce, the BRO has started work for re-establishing connectivity on all required fronts.
The site is very challenging due to steep cliff on far bank and 25-30-metre-high debris/muck on the other side, however, the BRO has overcome these challenges and on the fourth day has cleared and established a path for construction of bridge abutment. The BRO is working round the clock to re-establish connectivity at the earliest by launching a bailey bridge of 200 feet. The BRO is also assisting Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) & National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in rescue operations, several BRO teams part of Project Shivalik are deployed in the area for relief operations.