Families in six hundred houses in the “sinking” town of Joshimath in Uttarakhand have been evacuated after a survey via satellites. “As of now, we know that 600 houses have been evacuated. And about 4,000 people have been shifted to safer areas,” a senior functionary of the Ministry of Home Affairs told NDTV.
Some cracks were also noted in lower parts of Army and ITBP establishments but adequate safeguards are being adopted, the official said.
Meanwhile, a high-level central team led by secretary, Border Management, Dr Dharmendra Singh Gangwar reached Dehradun and met Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. “Surveys are being conducted by NDRF and local administration to get to exact numbers,” a senior Home Ministry official explained.
It seems 30 per cent of Joshimath is affected, he said, adding. “A report is being compiled by an expert committee and it would be submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office.”
The district administration had earlier put red cross marks on more than 200 houses in the sinking town that are unsafe for living. It asked their occupants to either shift to the temporary relief centres or rented accommodations for which each family would get assistance of Rs 4,000 per month for the next six months from the state government.
Personnel of the National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response Force have been deployed for the relief and rescue efforts in the town.
More than 600 structures in Joshimath – gateway to Badrinath and Hemkunt Sahib – have either developed cracks or been partially destroyed. The holy town has been divided into three zones – ‘Danger’, ‘Buffer’, and ‘Completely safe’ – based on the magnitude of possible danger.
Experts have blamed unplanned infrastructure development, including hydropower projects, for the alarming situation. Many have pointed to the hydroelectricity project of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in this connection. The NTPC has denied these charges. In an official statement, it has said the NTPC tunnel doesn’t go under the town and no blasting work is being carried out at the site at this point.