DEHRADUN, INDIA, July 2013 (Times of India): A series of advisories sent out by the Met department on June 14, 15 and 16 to various authorities in Uttarakhand warned not only of "very heavy rains" but also urged that people be "moved to safer places" and that the Char Dham yatra be "postponed." These advisories, accessed exclusively by TOI, provide the most damning evidence that the devastation in Uttarakhand could have been averted and thousands of lives saved had the warnings been heeded.
The warnings had been sent to a slew of top officials, including the state's chief secretary and the district magistrates (of the districts where the Char Dham yatra takes place). The warning, issued by the state meteorological department, was not picked up in right earnest even by its own headquarters, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which could perhaps have alerted the Centre and the state government on the impending danger.
A special advisory related to the Char Dham yatra was issued by the Met department on June 15 which had specifically predicted "heavy to very heavy rains" for June 16 and June 17 and had clearly mentioned the danger: "Warning - Char Dham yatris are advised to postpone yatra by four days." This advisory was for the Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Yamnotri and Joshimath regions -- all of which suffered majorly in the subsequent landslides and rains which became violent on the night of June 16.