Joshimath ‘sinking’: Construction activities halted amid protests; 50 families evacuated

Uttarakhand: Amid protests from a group of residents of Joshimath, the Chamoli administration on Thursday banned all construction activities in and around the “sinking” town, even as around 50 families living in houses so far have been evacuated has gone.

The city observed a bandh to protest against the administrative apathy to the plight of the residents and the “slow sinking caused by NTPC projects”. Atul Sati, convener of the Joshimath Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, said people took to the streets and blocked roads, raising slogans against the “useless administration”, while business establishments remained closed.

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Additional District Magistrate (ADM) Abhishek Tripathi reached to pacify the protesting agitators, but he was told that this would continue till decisive action is taken on their demands. The demands included immediate rehabilitation of residents, stopping the construction of NTPC tunnel and bypass road between Helang and Marwari to Badrinath and fixing responsibility for the disaster on NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugarh hydroelectric project, he said.

The district administration later banned the construction of the Helang bypass by the Border Roads Organization (BRO), the work on the Tapovan-Vishnugarh hydel project and other construction works to be carried out by the municipality with immediate effect till further orders. NTPC and Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) have also been asked to build 2,000 pre-fabricated houses in advance for the affected families. The district administration is taking all steps to ensure the safety of the affected people.

So far 47 families have been temporarily shifted to safer places including Nagar Palika Bhawan, Primary School Bhawan, Milan Kendra, BKTC Guest House, GIC, Gurudwara, Inter College Bhawan and ITI Tapovan. Management Officer NK Joshi said.

A team of senior officers including Garhwal Commissioner Sushil Kumar, Disaster Management Secretary Ranjit Kumar Sinha, Disaster Management CEO Piyush Rautela, NDRF Deputy Commandant Rohitashv Mishra and Earthquake Mitigation Center Shantanu Sarkar and IIT Roorkee Professor BK Maheshwari visited Joshimath and Had a meeting with the officials. To assess the situation.

A detailed survey of the situation is being done and houses particularly at risk are being identified, the official said. District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana is constantly monitoring the situation and SDRF, NDRF and police have been asked to be on alert. Located at an altitude of 6,000 feet in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, the town on the way to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib falls in the high-risk seismic ‘Zone-V’.

So far, 561 houses have developed cracks in various areas of the city, including 153 in Ravigram, 127 in Gandhinagar, 71 in Manoharbagh, 52 in Singhdhar, 50 in Parasari, 29 in Upper Bazar, 27 in Sunil, 28 in Marwari and 24. houses are included. In Lower Bazaar, Joshi said.

The extent of damage to houses varies and so far 47 families from the most affected houses have been temporarily shifted to safer places in the city, he said, adding that more families could be evacuated if necessary. Could Joshi said some families have also been shifted to their relatives’ places for the time being.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the situation in Joshimath was being closely monitored and he would visit there soon to assess the situation. Officials said a team of experts has also been constituted to survey the site falling in the high-risk seismic ‘Zone-5’.