Uttarakhand’s Joshimath Declared Sinking Zone, Over 60 Families Evacuated: Report


Joshimath has been declared a landslide-prone zone and more than 60 families living in damaged houses. In the submerged town have been shifted to temporary relief centres, a senior official said on Sunday.
At least 90 more families have to be evacuated. Garhwal Commissioner Sushil Kumar said that the local administration has set up relief centers in four-five places in the Himalayan city.

Meanwhile, Chamoli District Magistrate (DM) Himanshu Khurana went door-to-door in the affected areas to assess. The extent of damage and appealed to people living in cracked houses to go to relief centres.

Joshimath has been declared a landslide-prone zone. More than 60 families living in uninhabitable houses have been shifted to temporary relief centres, Kumar told PTI.

Considering the extent of damage, at least 90 more families should be evacuated as soon as possible, he said.

Mr. Kumar, who has been camping in Joshimath since Thursday. Heads a committee tasked with monitoring the ground-level situation.

Joshimath has a total of 4,500 buildings and 610 of them have developed huge cracks, making them uninhabitable, he said.

A survey is underway and the number of damaged buildings may rise, he added.

Mr. Kumar said the affected area, including the earlier cracks and the recently damaged houses, forms a large arch that may extend across 1.5 km.

Temporary relief centers have been set up at four-five safe places within Joshimath. He said some other buildings, including a few hotels, a Gurdwara and two inter-colleges, have been acquired to serve as temporary shelters that can accommodate around 1,500 people.

The Garhwal Commissioner said, “Land subsidence has been going on slowly for some time in Joshimath. But last week it increased with huge cracks appearing on houses, fields and roads.”

“The situation has apparently worsened after a water channel burst under the city last week,” he said.

He said, currently the priority is to evacuate the affected people to a safe place.

Mr. Kumar said long-term measures ranging from reconstruction to retrofitting were being explored to address the situation.

Chamoli DM Khurana surveyed the affected areas.

People have been asked to move out of unsafe and unlivable houses as they have been accommodated in hotels, homestays and other safe places, he said.

The state government will pay ₹ 4,000 per month to those who want to move to rented accommodation, he said, asking them not to risk their lives by choosing to continue living in damaged houses.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, who visited the affected areas in Joshimath on Saturday, held a meeting with officials here after his return and asked them to relax norms to speed up relief operations.

He said that they were asked not to get involved in long procedural complications. And take direct clearance from him for the works related to drainage treatment and sewage system in Joshimath.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Mr. Dhami over phone to review. The situation in Joshimath, Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) officials said.

The prime minister sought an update on land reduction in the city and steps taken so far for safety and rehabilitation of residents, they said.

They added that the Prime Minister is personally monitoring the situation. At Joshimath – known as the gateway to Badrinath, Hemkund Sahib and famous skiing destination Auli.

National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad and Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun have been asked to conduct. A study of Joshimath through satellite imagery and submit a detailed report with photographs.

The Geological Survey of India has been asked to examine the suitability of Koti Farm. Herb Institute and Horticulture Department land in Semaldala area of Joshimath and Pipalkoti for rehabilitation purposes.

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