Joshimath is a holy town and a gateway to pilgrimage sites in the Uttarakhand state of India. Located at a height of 6,150 feet, Joshimath’s crisis has led to the town being declared a landslide and subsidence hit zone after residents reported deep cracks on houses, buildings and roads. Indian Space Research Organization revealed satellite images of Joshimath which show that the town is craving in and has sunk 5.4 cm between December 27, 2022, and January 8, 2023.
While people are furious with the government for neglecting the Mishra Committee Report of 1976, which had warned of the sinking of Joshimath 50 years ago, the June 2013 floods, February 2021 glacier lake burst, hydro-power and road construction works could be the possible reasons.
As of January 13, 2022, authorities evacuated 600 people of 145 families to temporary safe residences like schools and hotels in response to Joshimath’s crisis. The town is home to 20,000 people.
Houses, hotels, including the popular Malari Inn and roads, have developed cracks them. The authorities declared more than 800 houses as damaged and unfit to live in. People have no other choice but to abandon their houses. Owners of the two hotels in the area, Malari Inn and Mount View, protested against the authorities demanding fair compensation.
As per the warnings of the Indian Meteorological Department, Joshimath witnessed rain on January 13, 2023, amid evacuations. Due to the changed weather, the authorities had to halt the demolition of the hotels.
Rescuing People From Joshimath’s Crisis
State Disaster Response Funds deployed eight units responsible for rescuing people and demolishing unsafe buildings and structures. Officials are conducting door-to-door surveys around the town to find out more damaged houses and buildings.
The Prime Minister’s Office held a high-level meeting and directed the officials of government bodies including the National Disaster Management Authority and the Geological Survey of India to study closely the Joshimath Crises and give their respective recommendations promptly.
Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami also met victims of the Joshimath crisis, who were protesting against the government for a fair amount of compensation. The chief minister also ordered his secretary R. Meenakshi Sundaram and the Commissioner of the Garhwal division to camp in Joshimath.
The state government also announced it will provide INR 1.5 lakhs per family as an interim relief compensation, out of which, Rs 50,000 is for relocation. The state also announced to aid each affected family with Rs 4,000. The government has also decided to waive the electricity and water bills of Joshimath’s crisis affected people for the next six months.
Meanwhile, the administration of the district is taking care of the needs of people staying temporarily in the safe shelter after abandoning their damaged and cracked houses. People are provided with proper food facilities including dry ration kits and packed foods. The administration is also making sure that the immediate needs of the affected people are fulfilled at the earliest.
– Aanchal Mishra