Nearly 66 families have reportedly migrated from Joshimath in Uttarkhand following cracks developing in 561 houses as a result of continued land subsidence in the town, stated the District Disaster Management Department.
According to media reports, nearly 100 houses in the picturesque town, which lies 50km from the revered Badrinath temple, are not in a state to be used.
According to a report by NDTV, Joshimath Municipal Chairman Shailendra Pawar said, "Now the process of increasing cracks in Singhdhar and Marwadi has started. Badrinath NH near Singhdhar Jain locality and JP Company Gate in Marwadi, near the forest department check post, is continuously cracking. This crack is increasing every hour which is worrying." He further added that the cracks are increasing on all the main roads of Sunil Ward due to which people are facing a lot of difficulty in walking.
Earlier on Wednesday people residing in the town took out a torchlight protest against government inaction and decided to keep markets shut on Thursday.
As many as nine houses have reportedly developed cracks in Marwadi and they have been increasing in Singhdhar, Badrinath NH near Singhdhar Jain locality, and JP Company Gate in Marwadi, near the forest department check post. Officials further reported cases of water seepage from underground in JP Colony, Marwadi ward of Joshimath.
Taking cognisance of the matter and speaking to ANI, Uttarakhand Prime Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said, "I will be visiting Joshimath in the coming days and initiate steps to handle the situation. All the reports will be monitored and all the required steps will be taken. I have had a word with the Municipal Corporation chairman Shailendra Pawar to monitor the condition in the district."
What's causing the gradual 'sinking' in Joshimath?
Reportedly, an expert panel set up by the Uttarakhand government found that several pockets of Joshimath are "sinking" due to man-made and natural factors.
The panel found that ground subsidence — a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the earth's surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface materials — has induced structural defects and damage observed in almost all wards of Joshimath, according to reports.