Joshimath : The hilly town of Uttarakhand’s, Joshimath has been declared a ‘sinking zone’ in the wake of continuing land subsidence, with several houses, roads, & other buildings developing cracks.
Authorities at Joshimath said that the demolition of damaged hotels & houses would take place on January 10, which developed cracks in the wake of the landslide and subsidence.
Hotels Malari Inn and Mount View, which have developed more cracks, will be demolished on Tuesday, officials said, adding that all residents have been safely evacuated from the ‘unsafe zones’.
Of the two hotels, Malari Inn will be demolished in a step-wise manner today. First of all, the top portion will be demolished. It is being done because both the hotels have tilted and have come very close to each other due to the sinking.
The demolition of buildings will begin under the supervision of a team of experts from the Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee.
A team from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is on standby to assist the district administration in the demolition work as and when required.
Amid the issue of land subsidence in Joshimath, cracks were also seen on some houses in Bahuguna Nagar of Karnaprayag Municipality in Chamoli.
“Experts are on the ground and the administration will take action on their directions and advice,” said the NDRF.
“They will be demolishing these hotels for the safety of the 15-20 families still living here. Our houses have been destroyed,” said Manmohan Singh Rawat, a local.
The administration has distributed food kits and blankets to the affected families, as per their requirements, along with the distribution of funds to procure essential household items. Sixty-three food kits and 53 blankets have been made available for the affected locals.
District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana, on January 9, informed that a central team was to arrive in Chamoli district to survey the damage brought to properties by the land subsidence and suggest a way forward while coordinating with the local administration in relief and rescue efforts.
To assess the situation in Joshimath, Officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority met Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. They underlined the need for ascertaining the location of underground water accumulation in the subsidence zone.
Water accumulation under the ground in the affected area is considered to be in Joshimath, but the source of the water is yet to be ascertained. The central team of officials also said a geological survey of the areas identified for rehabilitating the affected people should be carried out.
“A team from the Ministry of Home Affairs will come to Joshimath on January 10. Demolition of buildings will start tomorrow under the supervision of the team of Central Building Research Institute (CBRI) Roorkee,” Khurana had said earlier.
On January 9, a team from the Ministry of Jal Shakti also arrived at Joshimath. The administration has vacated the areas where the buildings will be demolished after they were declared ‘unsafe zones’.
The officials assured the chief minister of an investigation into the geographical condition of the Joshimath area and the causes of the landslide. The state administration was also assured of central in mobilising disaster relief.
The chief minister told the central team that Joshimath is an important town from cultural, religious and strategic points of view, and integrated efforts will be needed for its restoration. Efforts are being made on a war footing to save the town and evacuate the people living in the subsidence zone to safe locations, he said.
The state government is also working on designing a relief package for the people of the disaster-hit town, which will soon be sent to the Centre.
Related to disaster management in view of landslides in the Joshimath area, District Disaster Management Authority, Chamoli, issued a bulletin. According to that, cracks have been noticed in a total of 678 buildings in the Joshimath town area. A total of 81 families have been temporarily displaced.
“Under Joshimath city area, 213 rooms have been temporarily identified as habitable, with their capacities estimated at 1191. Also, 491 rooms/halls have been identified in Pipalkoti outside Joshimath area, with a combined capacity of 2,205,” the bulletin said.