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Due to earth subsidence in Joshimath, protests halt the demolition of two hotels, and 86 homes are deemed “unsafe.”

WHILE 86 properties have thus far been deemed “unsafe” and tagged with red ‘X’s, the initial phase of demolitions will focus on two hotels that are among the hardest damaged by the land sinking in Joshimath.

Deep ground fissures have led one of the hotels (Malari Inn) to be nearly detached from its base, causing it to lean toward the other hotel (Hotel Mount View).

Tuesday, a team from the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), which has been tasked with the demolition, surveyed the two hotels. Even though the demolition was scheduled to commence in the evening, the owner of the Malari Inn and a number of locals protested, preventing CBRI and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) employees from accessing the hotel.

The team’s leader, CBRI Chief Scientist D P Kanungo, told The Deccan Era that they planned to conduct a “mechanical” demolition without the use of explosives. Last year, Kanungo was a member of the team that demolished the Supertech twin towers in Noida.

“The first hotel’s (Malari Inn) foundation has left the ground, and the harm is therefore irreparable. The hotel has moved its weight onto the neighbouring hotel, causing damage to both. This is the reason why a safe mechanical demolition of these two structures is required. We have explored both buildings and developed a comprehensive strategy. Kanungo stated that the safety people nearby and below the two hotels and the employees who will be entering the structures to undertake the demolition are the top priorities.

He stated that the destruction would be conducted in stages, from top to bottom, and would take around three to four days. First, the Hotel Malari will be dismantled.

“We will use concrete cutters and other equipment to cut and remove portions of the structure, as explosives are not permitted here. To protect all our employees’ safety, we shall maintain a list of those entering the building and check it after every shift. Behind the buildings, barricades will be erected behind the buildings to prevent falling debris from damaging adjacent structures.

Following Joshimath’s ‘gradual sinking’ in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, a temple collapses. (PTI)

Kanungo stated that his team has not yet discovered any fractures in the walls of the two buildings, therefore it is safe for the workers to enter and perform their duties inside.

When asked about the prospect of further structures being demolished, Kanungo stated that the administration has only issued demolition orders for these two sites.

Deep ground fissures have led one of the hotels (Malari Inn) to be nearly detached from its base, causing it to lean toward the other hotel (Hotel Mount View).

According to the most recent statistics made public by the Chamoli district administration, 723 homes have been recognised as having cracks, while 86 have been deemed hazardous. Until Tuesday, a total of 131 families, including 462 people, had been relocated to the temporary shelters.

People impacted by the gradual sinking of their homes await evacuation at Joshimath with their belongings. (PTI)

The locals, including the proprietors of the two hotels, have claimed compensation in accordance with the tariffs outlined in the Badrinath Dham redevelopment masterplan. According to district officials, the compensation provided by the Badrinath master plan is double the circular rate.

A representative of the district administration stated that they had just been instructed to demolish the two hotels, and no official compensation conversations had occurred.

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

The proprietor of Malari Inn, Thakur Singh Rana (63), told The Indian Express in the morning that he had not been notified of the impending demolition and only learned about it through media reports. Even though he received a notice later in the day, the reimbursement has not yet been confirmed.

Rana stated that the hotel with 28 rooms was built in 2011. According to him, he spent about Rs 4-5 crore on its construction.

In the meantime, Uttarakhand Chief Secretary S S Sandhu convened a conference with the relevant officials to assess the situation and asked Chamoli District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana to conduct evacuations in the affected districts. He ordered the district administration to prioritise the demolition of the most severely damaged structures.

Families in Joshimath relocate to shelters. (Deccan Photo)

All affected families must be relocated to ensure that no lives are lost, and any potentially hazardous structures must be removed immediately. According to an official release, he stated that proper arrangements should be made at the temporary shelters and that there should be no communication gap between the affected people and the administration.

Additionally, directives have been issued to relocate cell towers to secure locations so mobile networks are not disrupted. Sandhu instructed the district administration to form assessment panels with resident participation.

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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