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A key town on the route to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib, Joshimath is currently’sinking’

As protests continued in Joshimath, where over 560 houses developed cracks due to land subsidence and 50 families residing in at-risk houses were relocated, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced that he would convene a high-level meeting on Friday evening to assess the situation.

“This evening, I will convene a high-level meeting in Dehradun to discuss the landslides in Joshimath and the cracks in the houses,” the Chief Minister told ANI.

The town observed a bandh to protest administrative indifference to the plight of residents and “NTPC projects that have contributed to its gradual sinking.”

Atul Sati, convenor of the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, stated that protesters took to the streets while chanting slogans against an “idle administration” and staged a chakka jam, while businesses remained closed.

The Congress has criticised the state government, claiming that it has ignored the people’s apathy. Continuous landslides are occurring in Joshimath (Jyotirmath). People are compelled to spend the night in the bitter cold on the streets of Joshimath due to the deterioration of many homes. The party tweeted that the state government must take the necessary measures to protect Joshimath from landslides.

In a tweet, senior leader Ganesh Godiyal stated, “The majority that the BJP has in the state is only to run and rule the government; the government is sleeping soundly without regard for the people’s interests!”

Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Abhishek Tripathi came to persuade the agitators staging a dharna, but he was informed that the protest will continue until their demands are met.

The demands include immediate rehabilitation of residents, halting construction of an NTPC tunnel and a bypass road between Helang and Marwadi for Badrinath, and assigning blame for this tragedy to the NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project, he explained.

The district administration subsequently halted the construction of the Helang bypass by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project, and other municipal construction projects until further notice.

The NTPC and Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) have each been asked to construct 2,000 prefabricated homes for the affected families in advance.

N K Joshi, district disaster management officer, stated that 47 families living in houses with developing cracks have been temporarily relocated to Nagar Palika Bhawan, a primary school building, the Milan Kendra, BKTC guest house, GIC, Gurudwara, inter college building, and ITI Tapovan.

High seismic hazard zone

The town on the route to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib, situated at the height of 2,000 metres in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, falls within the high-risk seismic ‘Zone-V’.

Joshimath is also a key transit point for tourists travelling to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib, as the majority stop here before continuing their journey. As a result, the city contains a number of bed-and-breakfasts and hotels, many of which have been affected by the subsidence.

Landslide in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath district of Chamoli. Due to landslides, cracks began to show in the houses, spreading terror throughout the population. (PTI Photo)

Landslide in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand’s Joshimath. Due to landslides, cracks began to appear in the houses, causing panic to spread throughout the city. (PTI Photo)

561 homes in various areas of the city have developed cracks, including 153 homes in Ravigram, 127 homes in Gandhinagar, 71 homes in Manoharbagh, 52 homes in Singhdhar, 50 homes in Parsari, 29 homes in Upper Bazar, 27 homes in Suneel, 28 homes in Marwadi, and 24 homes in Lower Bazar. Joshi said.

The degree of damage to the homes varies, he said, adding that if necessary, additional families could be evacuated. Joshi added that some families have been temporarily relocated to the homes of their relatives.

(With inputs from PTI)

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