May 31, 2023
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Joshimath: Dozens evacuated from India’s ‘sinking town’

Numerous households in the town of Joshimath in the Indian state of Uttarakhand had to be evacuated when significant cracks started to emerge in their homes and on the roads. According to a district official, the area has been designated as “disaster-prone.”  Due to gradual land subsidence, which is the term for the ground gradually sinking, more than 600 homes have already developed cracks.

According to officials, they are giving impacted families dry food items as well as financial relief.  As per Himanshu Khurana, the magistrate of the Chamoli district, where Joshimath is located, two federal government teams are on their way to the town to assess the situation.

Up until now, 68 families have been relocated to makeshift shelters set up in hotels and inns in safer neighbourhoods. Today and in the coming days more individuals will be evacuated.

Residents of Joshimath in the ecologically sensitive Himalayan region have been sounding the alarm for months, but it wasn’t until lately that the matter gained considerable media notice as the fractures started to expand.

Following a nationwide highway blockade by tens of thousands of demonstrators last week, local authorities halted many building projects. Protesters attributed the catastrophe to unrestrained construction.

Last week, a group of specialists paid a visit to Joshimath and provided the administration with a report. The Times of India newspaper obtained a copy of the study, which has not yet been made public, and said that the panel had advised that the homes that had incurred the “highest damage” be demolished.

Subsidence is a long-standing issue; in 1976, a government commission warned Joshimath locals about the dangers of ground sinking there after they reported seeing fractures in their homes. The group also cautioned against allowing extensive construction in the area in its report.

However, since then, development has only increased dramatically in Uttarakhand, a state in the ecologically vulnerable Himalayan area. Millions of pilgrims visit the state’s numerous revered Hindu shrines each year.

Picture Courtesy: Google/images are subject to copyright


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