On the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway in the state of Uttarakhand, there is a hilly town, Joshimath. The city is also a tourist destination. For those traveling to Badrinath, Auli, the Valley of Flowers, and Hemkund Sahib, among other significant religious and tourist destinations, it also serves as a rest stop. Joshimath is also home to one of the Army’s most significant cantonments and is of tremendous strategic importance to the Indian armed forces. Despite this, Joshimath has been in the news for the wrong reasons for more than a week. Joshimath, which serves as the entrance to Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath, is now a landslide-subsidence zone.
The Religious Town Is Now Sinking
The vital town for culture and nature in Uttarakhand is now sinking. Residents have also expressed concern that the situation is getting worse due to the houses developing cracks. According to reports, numerous homes have acquired cracks due to the land sliding case in Joshimath. Government officials performed a survey, and the results showed that the citizens’ fears were justified. Furthermore, the issue is actively under surveillance, according to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. Although scientists and geologists have issued warnings for decades, the panic and worry among locals are currently making headlines.
Why Is Joshimath Sinking?
A 1976 report claims that Joshimath is present on an old landslide. Additionally, the research also alerts us that Joshimath might sink if development doesn’t slow down. It suggests that the government should stop construction there. Joshimath was not suitable for a settlement because it is a sand and stone deposit, not a significant rock. Additionally, natural factors will become out of equilibrium due to vibrations from blasting, high traffic, etc. Now, the soil subsidence is because of the vibrations by construction for NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project.
It may have also caused the cracks to open as they developed beneath the town. In the Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, India, a 520 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project of the Hydropower Plant is present on the Dhauliganga River. The plant also produces approximately 2.5 TWh of electricity annually. As a result, water has been able to flush out from the surface in several places. The town’s aquifer, according to experts, is not strong enough, which has caused significant cracks in houses and other buildings.
Climate And Several Other Reasons
The subsidence of Joshimath is because of a range of anthropogenic and natural factors. There are now hotels and eateries everywhere, and both the population pressure and the volume of tourists have grown significantly. As a result, many of the town’s houses might not survive, and the occupants must relocate to safer areas. In addition, specialists are raising worries about climate change.
They have emphasized the necessity for stricter laws and standards to deal with harsh weather conditions. They said that construction can take place so as not to interfere with already existing structures. Environmental scientists have also stated that the delicate ecosystem in the Himalayas has become more vulnerable. Widespread infrastructure development is to blame.
Here’s How To Save The Pilgrimage Destination
The experts advise stopping all construction work immediately. All construction projects in and around Joshimath are currently under pause by the Uttarakhand government. This choice was in response to the town’s buildings developing cracks as a result of land subsidence. Experts have also advised replanting in the area, particularly at the vulnerable sites, to preserve soil capacity. Pushkar Singh Dhami, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, pleaded for everyone to come together to save Joshimath.
However, moving the residents to a safer area right away is the most challenging and urgent requirement. The first thing to look upon is drainage planning. The city experiences inadequate drainage and sewer management as more and more waste keeps seeping into the soil and loosening it from within.
What Is The Government Doing For Sinking Joshimath?
To handle the situation in a coordinated manner with the state government and the authorities, the central government has established a panel. Apart from that, the government and CM have mandated the urgent relocation to safer areas of 600 families. They are the ones who were residing in the most vulnerable areas. They have insisted that saving lives comes first. Additionally, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami has arrived in Joshimath to conduct additional research on the situation.
In addition to ensuring medical facilities, the government has mandated total ground coverage and plans for airlifting people. Moreover, authorities are to speed up the clearance of danger zones, sewage, and drainage. The state administration is also giving 4,000 per month in rent for the next six months to the people. The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund will provide for this.
While facing the winter chill, the residents of the town have decided to remain outside. It happened when numerous homes and other structures started to show cracks. Joshimath’s sinking has made it difficult for authorities to relocate affected families.
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