Joshimath sinking: Locals on edge over relocation; CM holds key meet| Top 10
Joshimath sinking: The Himalayan town has witnessed multiple protests in the last few days.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami on Friday held a cabinet meeting on the Joshimath situation with the land subsidence in the town catching national attention. After more than 500 houses developed cracks in the town, 99 families have been shifted over the past week. "We have shifted 99 families from Joshimath so far and compensation worth ₹1.5 lakh has been given," the Chief Minister told at a briefing. "We have not demolished any houses so far... (the) survey team is present over there. Assessment for rehabilitation is underway and we’re making key decisions for future," he further highlighted. The town witnessed protests this week amid updates that the buildings at risk would have to be demolished. Apart from hundreds of homes, two big hotels are also facing the consequences of the subsidence.
Here are the top updates on the Joshimath situation:
1) The Chief Minister has held several key meetings since the last week over the Joshimath situation amid rising fears and concerns. He has also visited the town twice where he met the affected locals. The central government too has been taking updates on the situation.
2) Satellite images - released by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) - have shown that the Himalayan town sank at a rapid pace of 5.4 cm in about 12 days. This was possibly triggered by a land subsidence event earlier this month.
3) “The region subsided around 5 cm within a span of a few days and the areal extent of subsidence has also increased. But it is confined to the central part of Joshimath town,” ISRO's National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) underlined in a report, news agency PTI reported. The subsidence was believed to be slow between April and November last year, during which Joshimath had sunk by 8.9 cm, it highlight
4) A panel has been formed to decide the compensation for the affected families. "A committee has been constituted to decide the interim package and rate of rehabilitation. Compensation will be given keeping in view the interests of the affected stakeholders," CM Dhami was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
5) Meanwhile, the state-run National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has said its construction project has no role in the land subsidence. Stressing that a 12-kilometer long tunnel linked to the Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric project is 1 km away from the Joshimath town, it has written to the power ministry, news agency PTI reported. "The tunnel is at a horizontal distance of around 1.1 km away from the outer boundary of Joshimath town and vertically around 1.1 km below the ground level," NPTC wrote in the letter.
6) On Thursday, the Uttarakhand High Court asked the state government to strictly implement the ban on construction. "All construction work has been stopped in Joshimath and possible help is being given to the affected. The government is taking the help of Wadia Institute experts regarding landslides," the counsel - on behalf of the NTPC and the state government - told the court, as per an ANI report.
7) The Chief Minister earlier this week said that the sinking of the town was a "natural disaster" and could not be blamed on anyone. “It’s a natural disaster and has not been caused by anyone. In this hour of crisis, we are with the people of Joshimath and will help them in all possible ways," he said.
8) However, he has admitted that there is a growing burden on hill towns “There is a growing concern about the carrying capacity of hill towns. We will conduct studies on the carrying capacity of Joshimath and other hill towns of the state."
9) Analysts and locals have said that the sinking happened a NTPC’s tunneling work, unplanned development in the town, and the use of heavy machinery for construction of Helang bypass as part of the Char Dham road project, HT had earlier reported.
10) Joshimath is frequented by pilgrims, tourists and adventure freaks.
(With agency inputs)