The Uttarakhand government has requested the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Hyderabad and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), Dehradun to conduct a study of Joshimath area through satellite images and submit a detailed report with photographs.
Meanwhile, the Geological Survey of India has been asked to examine the suitability of Koti Farm, Herb Institute, and the horticulture department's land in Joshimath and in Pipalkoti's Semaldala area for rehabilitation purposes.
The requests were made after Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami returned from his visit to the affected areas in Joshimath and held a meeting with senior officials here Saturday night.
Apart from these, IIT-Roorkee, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, National Institute of Hydrology Roorkee and Director CSIR, Central Building Research Institute Roorkee have also done a detailed survey and study of Joshimath area and will soon submit their report to the government.
The chief minister also asked officials to relax the norms to expedite relief operations. A high-powered committee should be formed to approve only work related to disaster management in Joshimath to speed up relief and rescue, he said.
Dhami also sanctioned an additional amount of Rs 11 crore to the District Magistrate Chamoli. Officials said secretary to the chief minister, R Meenakshi Sundaram and Commissioner, Garhwal Division, Sushil Kumar will camp at Joshimath from Sunday.
Instructions were also given for the formation of a high-level coordination committee at the state and local level for monitoring development work along with the relief and rescue work being done in the areas affected by land subsidence.
Additional Chief Secretary Radha Raturi will head the state-level coordination committee, while Commissioner (Garhwal) Sushil Kumar will head the panel at the local level to coordinate relief and rescue operations. Joshimath, the gateway to famous pilgrimage sites like Badrinath and Hemkund Sahib and international skiing destination Auli, is facing a major challenge due to land subsidence.
People have been expressing their unhappiness against the government for the alleged indifference with which it treated the warnings about a dangerous situation of buildings in the Himalayan town due to heavy construction activities going on around it.
Residents wrote letters to CM to alert
Residents of the Joshimath wrote to Chief Minister Dhami thrice last month, alerting him about the repercussions of blasts in the tunnels of the NTPC hydel project nearby, NDTV reported.
"We have been requesting the Uttarakhand government and the DM since last year to take note of the blasts at the NTPC tunnels that causes vibrations in the entire area. When our houses started to have initial cracks in December last year, we wrote several letters to the government, but never got any response. The DM visited once, but no action was ever taken to solve the crisis. Now we have reached a point where Joshimath can sink at any point of time," Thakur Singh Rana, a hotelier told NDTV.
(with Inputs from PTI)