Dehradun, July 11: The army Thursday commenced work to open a new route to the rain-ravaged Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand.
According to officials, the work is being done at the request of the state government and the National Disaster Response Force.
With heavy rains again lashing the region, helicopters deployed in relief and supply work have been grounded. The pace of rescuing people who are still missing has also slowed down.
The land routes to the hills suffered extensive damage during the cloudburst and flash floods of June 16-17, blocking access by foot to the revered shrine.
Kedarnath and its surrounding areas suffered the worst in the natural disaster which has claimed hundreds of lives and left a trail of destruction.
A team of soldiers and experts have conducted a reconnaissance of the Kedernath area and started work to open a route along a fresh alignment, the army's Central Command said.
"After much difficulty, we were successful in establishing a crossing over the Vasuki Ganga at Sonprayag Wednesday," an official said.
The team of 21, including four officers, reached Gomkara and camped there for the night at an altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level.
The official told IANS that another team with logistic support Thursday crossed the river at Sonprayag. This team will establish a staging area in the area of Gomkara.