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IndiaStates and CapitalsUttarakhand(Dehradun)

Cracks are equally large and frightening near Karnaprayag, 82 kilometres from Joshimath.

While the soil subsidence in Joshimath has captured the attention of the entire country, fractures in the roadways and fissures in the walls of houses in Karnaprayag, 82 kilometres away, have mostly gone undetected.

Over a dozen bungalows in Bahuguna Colony in Karnaprayag, 82 kilometres from Joshimath, had developed fractures that originally appeared approximately a decade ago. The fissures and gaps have grown large and long enough to make numerous houses uninhabitable, forcing the owners and occupants to relocate. Others who have been unable to secure alternate housing on their own are spending the night at the municipal council’s shelter.

Cracks in the walls of houses in Uttarakhand’s Karnaprayag (File Photo)

Tula Devi Bisht stated that her home was built in 2010, and that three years later, after a’mandi’ (market) was built nearby, cracks began to form on the walls. “Everything was fine prior to 2013. We disregarded the fractures at first, but most of the rooms are now too risky to dwell in,” she explained. Most of her house’s walls have fissures and cracks, and all attempts to patch the gaping spaces were unsuccessful because they regenerated within months.

Kamla Raturi, who lives next door to her, is dealing with identical challenges. “This house, which was built in 2000, has six rooms. Four of the rooms were abandoned by tenants last year, and we moved out of the other two around two months ago when the fractures became too large to ignore. Cracks began to show in 2013, as they did in all other residences in the neighbourhood. Last October-November, the fissures in the walls and floor abruptly expanded, the roof tilted, and the doors became stuck. The renters then left the properties. “Who wouldn’t?” Raturi asked.

Harendra Singh’s residence is possibly the most affected nearby. The building’s tenants have already fled, and rooms remain open with some possessions remaining inside. A large diagonal fissure in the drawing room wall surrounds the window, and a pillar has broken in two. The first level of the two-story house has begun to tilt as well.

Bhagwati Prashad Sati, a retired supply inspector, blamed the issue on the’mandi’ building and other construction activity in the area.

Another homeowner, Pratima Devi, stated that more than a dozen houses in the region have developed cracks. She accused both the current BJP and the previous Congress governments of not listening to their problems and of ignoring their requests for assistance and relief.

Deep earth fractures have led one of the hotels (Malari Inn) to virtually detach from its base, causing it to tilt towards the other hotel (Hotel Mount View).

Chamoli District Magistrate (DM) Himanshu Khurana told The Indian Express that they were aware of the situation and had already made temporary arrangements for the affected families to reside at the Nagar Palika premises. “We requested IIT Roorkee a few months ago to research the area, evaluate the damage, determine what caused this, and present a project report on how to remedy the issue,” Khurana said, adding that they will rehabilitate the impacted people.

Earlier in the day, R Meenakshi Sundaram, Secretary to the Chief Minister, said that the government is providing Rs 1.5 lakh in immediate assistance and compensation to Joshimath’s impacted families. This includes Rs 50,000 for households to relocate and Rs 1 lakh as an advance compensation.

“So far, orders have been made to demolish two hotels in Joshimath, as these two constructions pose a threat to other structures in the region. As of present, no further structures are being demolished. A survey of the impacted structures is being carried out. People are being relocated to safer areas. The afflicted households have received an interim assistance of Rs 1.5 lakh. “Rs 50,000 (paid by the Uttarakhand State Disaster Management Authority) is for the families’ relocation and emergency necessities, and Rs 1 lakh is an advance payment to the overall relief money to be given,” Sundaram explained.

Before making the announcement, he met with residents and explained that individuals affected will be compensated at the market rate. According to him, the market rate in public welfare will be determined based on the proposals of the recipients.

A man displays the fractures that developed at his Joshimath home. (PTI)

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, who returned to Joshimath on Wednesday, urged residents not to accept rumours of house demolition. The CM asked the Chief Secretary to ensure that no houses are demolished unless absolutely necessary. He stated that Rs 45 crore has been set aside for the 3,000 impacted households, and that a rehabilitation scheme is being developed.

According to a bulletin provided by the Chamoli district government, so far, 723 dwellings have developed cracks in Joshimath, and 86 houses have been placed in ‘risk zone’. A total of 499 people from 145 households have been relocated to temporary shelters.

 

Nisha

Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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