The Uttarakhand Chief Secretary SS Naidu has ordered for the demolition of unsafe structures, beginning today in Joshimath under the supervision of scientists responsible to monitor the drive. The demolition drive will raze unsafe houses and hotels prone to collapse at any time.
In the first phase of the drive, two hotels; Mount View and Mallari Inn that have developed deeper cracks and nudged the structure to incline backwards will be razed. For safety reasons, people residing in proximity to the demolition site have been evacuated.
The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) will be overviewing the demolition activities, while the Traffic Police will block traffic movements in the nearby area and the Uttarakhand Police will handle the law and order situation. "Buildings marked under the unsafe zone and buffer zone in its vicinity are being vacated. Today a team from CBRI, Roorkee will come, and they will identify the buildings which need to be demolished. Further action will be taken under their guidance," Chamoli DM said as per media reports.
So far, the district administration has marked more than 200 houses with red crosses deemed unsafe. The authorities have asked occupants to either shift to the temporary relief centres set up by the government authorities or rented accommodation. Each family will be given an assistance of Rs 4,000 per month for the next six months from the Chief Minister's relief fund for the same.
The 'sinking town' of Joshimath is headed for a disaster as more houses and building develop and deepen cracks, forcing residents to rush out from the comfort of their homes in Uttarakhand's bone-chilling winter and move to temporary government shelters. The state Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami took a ground check on Saturday, visiting the affected areas. Dhami released an additional amount of Rs 11 crore for safety and rescue operations in Chamoli.
On Sunday, PM Modi held a high-level review meeting on the issue. The Centre has set up a panel comprising representatives of the Geological Survey of India, the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Central Water Commission, among others to conduct "rapid study" of the occurrence of land subsidence and its effect in Joshimath. The panel has been asked to submit its report in three days
Amid the land subsidence crisis in Joshimath, cracks also formed on some houses in Bahuguna Nagar of Karnaprayag Municipality, reported news agency ANI, thus raising the number of subsidence-affected homes rose to 678 from a little over 600. Abulletin from the Disaster Management Authority in Chamoli said that 27 more families were evacuated to safety, adding so far 82 families have been shifted to safe locations in the town.
Situated at a height of 6,000 feet in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district, the town of Joshimath is on the route to Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib. It falls in high-risk seismic 'Zone-V', therefore mking the town prone to danger levels during earthquakes.
(with PTI inputs)